BY: TYLER HANSEN
Pondering the reasons why faith in Jesus is both absurd and absolutely awesome.
Lately I’ve spent some time reflecting upon the question of: “Why Christianity?” What makes it so special? What’s unique about it? It’s funny–before I became a Christian, I was ingrained with this “you can do anything you put your mind to” mentality. This concept states that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish literally anything. And while this attitude is an admirable one and certainly seems like a great outlook to have on life, it assumes that I am my own agent. I don’t need anyone or anything to help me accomplish my dreams. This idea isn’t a new one. All you have to do is watch MTV or listen to a mainstream radio station to hear this mantra over and over again. But Christianity puts us at a different starting point. We begin to realize that we have nothing in us that is good (Romans 7:18). Our works are nothing but filthy rags compared to a perfect God (Isaiah 64:6). You may be saying, “How can you ever want to affiliate with that mindset?” But wait. Trust me when I say that there is something comforting in knowing that I can’t do this thing on my own. To know that I have nothing within me that can save me from my own depravity. It sounds odd at first, but it makes more sense when you take a look at human nature and the state of the world around us. Flat out, we humans suck sometimes (more like, a lot of times). We cheat, lie, steal, and lust every day. We tell ourselves we will try to stop and all the while finding comfort in knowing that other people deal with the same problems. But Christianity says, “Look, mankind screwed up, screws up, and will continue to screw up. But there is Someone who knows that and loves you despite it. Who laid down His life for you so that you might know God personally.” With Him on your side, you can find the strength to persevere when the going gets tough, to lean on Him in times of suffering. The catch you ask? You just have to admit that you can’t do it alone. That you need a Savior. That you cannot possibly muster up enough determination to rid yourself of sinfulness. And that is the beauty of the Gospel. That is what makes it unique. It is not a “me first, I can do this” way of life. It is a “Him first, I can’t do anything right” way of life. And you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that. Christianity tells us that our battle have already been won. It’s not a matter of what we can do; it’s what He has done. We can endure pain and suffering because Jesus experienced pain and suffered on our behalf. And in doing so, paved a way to know and love our Creator in a personal relationship. You’d be hard-pressed to find better news than that.
Paul summarizes the power of this relationship in the letter written to the churches in Galatia, saying:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20 (ESV)