Tonight I was having a conversation with a friend. This friend of mine is agnostic, but we ended up on a spiritual topic tonight. When I asked him who he believed Jesus was, he said that he did not know, that he hadn’t researched enough. My response to him was this: “Well, let me tell you, that is the only question in life that really matters. It is worth everything to find out the answer to that question. If you remember nothing else I tell you, remember that.”
As we continued talking, we decided that we needed to get together and talk about it more. As we were discussing when and where to do that, he said to me, “Ok just don’t be disappointed when I don’t convert.” I felt so bad that he believed that was my reason in getting together. To be completely honest, the thought of converting him never even crossed my mind. What did happen inside of me was that my heart broke at the thought of one of my friends not knowing who Jesus is. He was telling me that he knew he was going to hell because he had chosen not to worship God, and that he believes that God only chooses those who worship and pray. It hurt me so deeply that he doesn’t know how much God loves him.
I sat on the couch thinking about how afraid I was to sit down and talk about this with someone. Am I smart enough? Do I know my stuff enough? Then God reminded me that it isn’t about being ready; it’s about relying on Him. Speaking of “converting” people, when did we start to believe it was our responsibility that we have to convince someone to believe in God? When it comes down to facts, yeah I have my reasons, but it’s not those things that have convinced me to follow Christ. My faith isn’t a bunch of stuff I have in my head; it’s the change that God has made in my heart. That can be possibly the most difficult thing to explain, but it is the most real thing in the world.
I don’t understand God nor can I explain the great mysteries of life. I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. What I have found is that the God of the whole universe for some reason loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for me so that I might be able to live in relationship with Him forever. I don’t choose Him because I owe Him my life, although I do. The very fact that He gave me a choice to either choose Him or reject Him shows me that it’s about more than that. I choose Him because He loves me. He has shown me what true love is, by dying for me when I could care less about Him. When the whole world abandoned me, He stayed right by my side. He has filled me with greater joy than I could ever have imagined. I can say that I love Him with my whole heart and I desire to give Him my everything because of that love. In Him I have a reason to live and my life has a purpose.
Tonight I watched the movie “Man On Fire.” I’ve seen it a few times and I absolutely love it. Here is a disclaimer: it is pretty graphic, has some language among other things, but the storyline is very powerful. For those who have never seen it, I’m sorry, but I’m going to ruin it for you because it’s the ending of the story that gets me every time. Here is the plot (a very abbreviated version, but the movie is definitely worth the watch): Denzel Washington plays the part of a drunk man from the States who takes a job as a body guard for a little girl in Mexico City. The day after taking the job, he tries to take his own life, because he sees no reason to live. The gun misfires, and as he gazes into the eyes of the little girl, he realizes that maybe he got a second chance at life. He falls in love with this little girl and the job became more than a job to him. One day, several men including some corrupt police officers organized a kidnapping of the little girl. Kresie (Washington) is almost killed trying to save her and she is taken. Through a botched ransom exchange it is believed that the girl was killed, and Kresie sets out on a mission of revenge to all that are among the brotherhood behind these kidnappings. After several people have died, and he works his way to the top of the chain, Kresie ends up on the phone with the leader of the whole organization, and finds out that the girl is still alive. “The Voice” or Daniel tells him that he is a businessman, and he would give him the girl in exchange for Kresie’s life and the life of Daniel’s brother. Kresie agrees.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch the last scene without crying. Kresie walks to the center of the bridge between the girl’s mom and the kidnappers and the girl runs into his arms. As they are talking, the girl realizes that Kresie will not be going with her. Tears fill her eyes when her mom carries her into the car and she watches her kidnappers take her Kresie. He died so that she could live. That’s ultimate love, that someone would be willing to give their own life in exchange for someone else’s. It’s something that we all know deep down inside of us. You know what? God did that for us.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is this: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).” It’s not about following a bunch of rules or knowing a bunch of facts. Everyone had that down before Jesus came. He stepped into the middle of all that legalism and showed with His life what it all is really about: love. I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want that, however, that’s not my choice to make. I don’t want anyone around me to not KNOW about that love. I don’t want them to know me without SEEING that love. It’s everything to me.
When it all comes down, the only question that matters is “Who do you believe Jesus is?” I know this to be true. I’m not out to convert all my friends or bang them over the head with my Bible. However, I don’t want anyone to know me without experiencing God’s love for them in everything I say and do. I don’t want our friendship to pass without me sharing what matters most to me: my relationship with God and the difference it has made in my life. There was a time in my life when, like Kresie, I was ready to take my own life. However, God gave me a second chance. He gave me a reason to live. Out of a response to the love that He has given me, I choose to give my life for Him. So who do you believe Jesus is? It really is the only question that matters.