It’s never the right time to genuinely consider Jesus – it seems. The idea struck me when I was listening to the radio while driving home from a COVID test on a Saturday morning in December.
This is the logic:
- Children are dependent on their parents in all matters. Perhaps you’ve got a lot to work out for yourself with regards to the Christian faith, so you prefer to avoid brainwashing your child with it. Anyways, later they’ll surely have the chance to choose their religion themselves, and in the meanwhile, it’s good to remain neutral keeping all options open.
- If you’re a youngster, you’re likely not willing to identify yourself with some church grannies or the other slightly goofy people calling themselves believers. Life is ahead of you, and things such as popular (or alternative) culture, climate action or your latest crush are more relevant for you at the moment.
- As a young adult, you’re busy getting started with your new independence facing about a million choices and the immense project of exploring life. Perhaps you want to travel the world with a backpack? Study hard? Or have some fun? If you’re a thinker or seeking for inner peace, you read books on (possibly eastern) philosophy and science, enroll in a yoga class or start meditation, ignoring the scruffy Bible study adds on your campus.
- During your busy years, you’re invested in a personal set of fixed elements such as work, home, family and other passion projects, or trying to rearrange the whole palette and find yourself anew. You might embrace selected Christian traditions – if you haven’t abandoned religion altogether. But importantly, you’re a civilized person, so you find it strange or even alarming if some people at your age spend their rare time reading the Bible, church and doing other fundamentalist stuff. Truth is relative, isn’t it.
- Having left the most turbulent years behind, you’re finally able to see the panorama of your lived life, enjoying the gains and grieving about the losses. You’ve come to hold a rather stable understanding of life, death and religion, and you’re not willing to question your views. Not at this point, having already come with them this far. Not now, even though they don’t provide you with transcendental hope. So, you instinctively stick to them, avoiding the potential shock of finding out that during all these years, you might not have gotten it right.
While I understand the post-Christian context I’m living in and even used to partly think alike for a long time, I now look at the world from a different perspective.
What made me change my mind then? First, I needed to face my situation. In my early twenties, I was feeling lost in the post-modern swamp of subjective pick-and-choose truth. As a by-product, my value system was broken, and I didn’t know how to navigate in life without hurting myself and my relationships. I was burdened by my oscillation between pride, guilt, shame and moral, and was longing for something better.
I definitely didn’t expect – or want! – to find it in Christianity, partially since I thought I already was a Christian, and secondly, because other options were rendered more compelling in the surrounding culture. So, I was basically looking for anything else. But then, I met a Christian, who obviously had something I didn’t have. This person explained to me the ins and outs of the classic Christian faith: Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, his resurrection and the eternal life I could have in him if I believed he had atoned for my sins. That he was the Lord and the Savior, whom I was made to follow in my life.
To be honest, I first liked the person more than his points. However, things worked together so that the Christian faith gradually started opening up to me in an irresistible fashion, and I was pulled to a relationship with Jesus. On the one hand, I was an active participant in the process by actually giving God the chance to speak to me through his Word and his people. On the other, however, it was God who took me from the mire placing me on solid ground without me having a clue about how exactly it happened.
As I’m seeing it now, it was through Christian fellowship, attending a Bible study (and reading the Scriptures on my own), prayer, as well as reading and listening to theologically sound teaching that I got a taste of Jesus and eventually felt compelled to believe in him. It’s hard to explain the holistic experience of getting in touch with the only truth, the way full of meaning, and the overwhelming love and mercy of the living God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I guess, it was like coming home.
Counter-culturally, the Bible is pretty clear that it’s always a good time to take Jesus seriously:
“The time has come,” he [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:31)
“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22)
So, don’t wait any longer.