I recently read a news article on a local television station’s website about a preacher that was being protested by students on the campus of The University of Southern Indiana. As I read the headline my heart sank. I thought here we go again, another Christian, like Tim Tebow, that is getting picked on. As I read the article, I found out that was not the case. It sounds like this guy didn’t have a great understanding of young people and how to communicate with them. I completely disagree with the methods he was using to get attention from the students. I then thought, well here is another example of why Christianity gets a bad name.
Yes, I call myself a Christian. What exactly does that mean? It doesn’t mean that I am perfect or better than any other human on this planet. It doesn’t mean that I never do anything wrong. I make mistakes hourly, if not more frequently. What being a Christian does mean is that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe he came to this earth, lived a sinless life, and paid for all of our sins as he was crucified and hung on a wooden cross. I believe he died and rose again on the third day. And because I have accepted him into my heart and do my best to live for him each day, he will come back again to take me to live with him in heaven forever.
Once you have asked him into your heart and accepted his death as payment for your sin, then what. What is the Christian life like? I know what the world believes it is like. A verse that comes to mind is in a song by the group AC/DC. The verse says, “Feeling like a Christian. Locked in a cage. Thrown to the lions. On the second page.” They see it as a lonely, restricted life where you cannot do anything enjoyable and no one has your back. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than feeling locked up, I feel free. I am free from the bondage of my sin. I don’t have to worry about being alone. My favorite book in the Bible is the 23rd Psalm, which says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” I don’t have to be afraid of my destination when my Earthly life is over.
I am married to a wonderful woman. We have two incredible daughters, which at times don’t act the way we would like them to. I have a job and go to work each day. I face the same trials and temptations that all people face in their daily lives. I go to my kids’ school functions. I live a life that I feel most typical Americans live. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt me from any problems or anything else that non-Christians face. What makes me different are the decisions I make and how I choose to deal with what comes my way. Remember the WWJD slogan that went around a few years back? Do I do it all just like Christ would have? The answer is “No.” I don’t handle every situation like I should. I am just a man. I try to be like Jesus. I do my best to make good decisions, but my wife would be the first one to tell you that I fail. Each morning before I start my day, I ask for forgiveness. I pray that the Lord will be with me as I go about my day and I also pray that people see Christ in me. I want to be a blessing to someone each day. And when the day does not go exactly as planned, I have someone I can turn to and count on. I do my best not to worry. I turn the situation over to the Lord and try to have the faith that he is always by my side and will take care of me no matter what. I am blessed with much more than I deserve.
I am free to truly live and experience life to its fullest and follow his Word. His Word is The Bible and everything in it from cover to cover is what should be followed. Some like to pick and choose what to follow, take things out of context, or change it by saying that we are living in different times. There is no doubt that we do live in different times, but the path is still the same regardless of the decade, century, or millennium that we live in. The Bible should never be viewed as a book of rules and restrictions, which again is how the world views it. Instead, think of it as an instruction manual, a road atlas, or a GPS system to help guide you through this life. When all is said and done, this life on planet Earth is just a small fraction of what eternity is going to be. The old Hymn “Amazing Grace” says, “When we have been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun. Google says that humans live an average of 66.88 years. We cannot even fathom what 10,000 years would be like. We cannot possibly understand what Heaven will be like.
What do you think Heaven will be like? Is it like the cartoons you see where people with white robes and wings play a harp? I sure hope not. That pretty much shows that our human minds cannot grasp the concept of what heaven is going to be like. John tried to describe it in the Bible. He talked about streets of gold, gates of pearl and walls of jasper. Whatever it is, it is going to be incredible. The one that created each and every one of us is designing it. Hello? Have you ever bought a camera, game system, stereo system, or electronic device and purchased some after market parts to install or use with it? You can get ones made by the company that produced it or some generic ones that are cheaper. A few years ago, we got a Wii game system for Christmas. We needed extra controllers so we bought a couple of the off brand controllers. To tell you the truth, I wish we just would have paid a little extra and got the Nintendo brand controllers. The off brand controllers just didn’t measure up or last as long. The reason I am telling you this, is God is our manufacturer. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The Bible says he knows the number of hairs on our heads. Don’t you think he is going to create a place that we like or are compatible with? I kind of think so.
When I was in the classroom, I taught science for many years. You might think, well how did I get around this evolution vs. creation thing? The answer is simple. To say that no evolution or adaptations of certain animals ever occurred is having a very closed mind and limiting exactly what God can do. Do I believe that humans came from apes? No, I do not, but I do believe that God could have created some species of animals to have the ability to change or adapt over the years. He is God. He can do anything! Why would I limit the capabilities of the creatures he has created? Take a look at our planet. It just happens to be just the right distance from the Sun that we don’t freeze or fry to death. It just happens to have the right amount of gravity and the correct amount gasses in the atmosphere to hold in just enough heat, but not too much. The Earth rotates on its axis at just the right speed that most places on Earth experience day and night. It just happens that the night is the approximate number of hours we need for sleep every 24 hours. We have plants and animals that provide us with food. We have water to drink. I could go on and on about the conditions that are needed for life to exist. Do I believe it all happened with a big bang or everything just kind of fell into place after a couple of giant asteroids collided or a few cells began to combine in a mud puddle? Come on, there IS a higher power and his name is Jesus Christ. He is the one that was, and is, and is to come.
What if I am wrong? What if all of this is a farce? Well, I guess I am guilty of trying to live a life where I treated people with respect. I tried to see people for who they were and not what kind of clothes they wore or cars they drove. I was honest and did my best to do what was good and right. I had a great work ethic. I loved my wife and raised children that will hopefully be good citizens and follow in my footsteps. I helped people who were in need. I tried to be positive and uplifting to those I worked with and people in general. I enjoyed making people smile, laugh and enjoy life. What if you are not a Christian and you are wrong? I am not sure I would want to find out. See what the Bible has to say about it. You can make your own decision.
I would like to conclude by saying; Christians need to be careful about how they are perceived by others. We want the people around us to want what we have got. We don’t want to be so holier than thou that we are no earthly good. The turn so you don’t burn approach is not really an effective way to communicate with young folks or anyone for that matter. I am not saying be wishy-washy or water it down, but talk about God’s promise. Talk about how a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior can be a freeing and awesome experience. It is not a life of rules and restrictions. All good products come with an owners/instruction manual. The Bible is that manual for humans. The manufacturer knows how to keep our lives running the best possible way. Read that book and do life the way it was intended.
I would like to thank my mom and dad, Mike and Rosemary Tron for raising me in a Christian home and instilling these principles in me.