Have you ever had a choice set before you that you knew, without a shadow of a doubt, was going to change the rest of your life? Can you look back and think of a moment where you chose a direction to take that completely altered your future? I know I can.
I was raised in a Christian Pastor’s home. A Baptist preacher. I grew up going to christian summer camp, vacation bible school, awana, etc. At every one of those big events I responded to the Altar Call and “asked Jesus into my heart” because the day after the last time I had gone forward, I felt liket it “didn’t count”. The Camp High was gone and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel like a Christian. I must have gone through those motions 8 or 9 times.
One night when I was 12 years old, I went to my dad and talked to him about my concerns about not really being a Christian. It was a long talk but I remember clearly that he told me this: “You’re getting to be a teenager and your hormones are going crazy. Feelings will come and go which means you can’t rely on them to be constant; faith is a choice you make regardless of how you feel.”
That was my moment. That was when it finally clicked and I decided that night to respond to the Holy Spirit’s urging to Follow Jesus.
Theology Break: It’s worth noting that various Christian traditions have different understandings of the time dimension of salvation.
- Some view it as an event (Protestant), a single occurrence at the beginning of the Christian life.
- Others view it as a process (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox) which is not complete until we go to heaven to be with Christ.
I’m not going to unpack that idea here as I spent half a semester at Multnomah trying to wrap my head around it – a single blog post isn’t going to do much. However, if you want to read up on the theology of salvation for yourself, its called “Soteriology” – be prepared to read a lot of big words.
Over the past several years, my personal understanding of salvation has moved beyond a one moment event but has also solidified on such an idea. I fully believe that those who follow Christ have a moment where they make a choice that they believe but it’s so much more than that: following Jesus is a lifestyle where we are continually being shaped into a better reflection of him.
Whichever camp you hold to, I believe we can agree that an initial choice is made. One choice that changes everything – do you follow him or do you not. Have you made that choice?
After this he [Jesus] went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. (Luke 5:27-28)