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Sunday, March 02, 2008

What difference does it make?

I believe in Jesus. As I have written before, when I say that I believe in Jesus I mean that in the sense that I believe in doing the right thing, I believe in democracy, or I believe in my kids. Yesterday, my daughter and I were talking about the difference between believing in Santa Clause (it exists) and believing in honesty (it is something I trust in and am faithful to). I asked her which she thought believing in Jesus was like. Of course, she said believing in Santa Clause.

I told her that for me it was more like believing in honesty and talked to her about how I thought believing in Jesus made a difference in my life, in the kind of person I am. I think that Christians need to do a better job talking about this. Particularly those of us who do not believe that believing in Jesus will save us from hellfire, or at least believe that is not all believing in Jesus will do for us.

So, I'm sending a link to this post to my friends at Chalice Christian. I would love to hear what difference it makes to you to be a Christian. [Note: I allow anonymous posting, so if you don't have a google account, just post anonymously and share your name in the comment box if you chose.] Of course, I would also really like to hear what other readers have to say.

I'll start. Being a Christian has helped me fight one of my greatest sins--arrogance. I am inclined to think I'm better and more important than others. Through prayer, scriptural study, working with other Christians in discussion, etc., in other words, being faithful to or trusting in Jesus, I've learned to mitigate this personal weakness. The result has been that I am able to enjoy those around me much more than I would otherwise. I can have healthy relationship that would not otherwise be available. I get to lead a happier life.

I look forward to reading what others have to say.

5 comments:

Lin said...

I like the distinctions you made in your conversation with Kathryn between "believing in" (does/did Jesus exist) and "believing in" (he is the way I follow in living life). This whole Lenten series of sermon stories has been about people who were at crossroads in their lives & in the development of their belief systems. Today the man who was born blind says, "I believe!" in response to Jesus' asking him.

So if Jesus asked me today, I'd tell him he is the way for me personally. He is especially the way I understand God and God's kindom on earth. Jesus makes it clearer for me to walk in God's way. But it's bigger than that, too. Jesus is a movement that started a long time ago & has taken some interesting turns -- some of them leaving damaging marks on history & others offering salvation -- but the movement still is alive, and seems now to provide a "third way" for a lot of us to find together. I think a lot of us are looking for a third way.

JimII said...

Lin,

You said that Jesus makes it clearer for me to walk in God's way. What does that mean for you? Do you act differently because of your Christianity?

Anonymous said...

Because I believe in Jesus,

I can hear God's messages more clearly.

Because I can hear God's messages more clearly, I can come closer to matching my life to God's plans.

When I match my life more closely to God's plans, God is joyful.

God's joy in me gives me peace.

Lois

Anonymous said...

Through my belief in Jesus, I feel I always have an inner anchor that I can turn to at any time. It keeps me focused on living a life, in the manner that I've been tought and to strive to always do the right thing. Like most everyone, there are times in which I might feel myself straying off course. It's in those times, I attempt to turn to my inner anchor, to become grounded once again in the body of Christ.

Noel

JimII said...

Linda, Lois, & Noel,

Thank you so much for your responses. It is funny, both reading your answers and answering the question for myself, I find the question to be more intimate than when I first asked it.

These things are deeply personal, aren't they? I think that is why they are so powerful to share.