This past Saturday I was getting ready for bed and I started entertaining the question, “Why are you a Christian?” I started to grasp for the typical responses to the question about God’s love and how I am saved through the loving acts of Christ. While I certainly would not want to dismiss any of the more traditional responses, I found myself challenging my spirit to dig deeper into the question. Why do I continue to be a follower of Christ? There has to be something that motivates me to continue on my journey in my faith.
I began to contemplate possible reasons that I hold tight to my faith. The one answer that seems to continue to come to the surface is that Christ challenges me to love in ways that no other deity or religion challenges me. While I know that many of my other friends and family express their understanding of God in very many ways, I still return to the incredible expression of God as reflected in the life of Jesus. For me, I find incredible power in a tradition that continues to motivate me to express love (agape) in ways that change my heart. My strength is found by allowing the Divine to renew my spirit.
I am a Christian because I am challenged to align my spirit with the Holy Spirit. This is not a watering down of the Bible, but more of continuous calls to love more boldly, worship more radically, serve more fully. The task of loving with all of your heart is not an easy job. There is a consistent summons to lay aside our own wants so that God may be seen through our actions. In other words, I must love as Christ loved me whether I want to or not.
The act of loving well is where the rubber meets the road. We love because God first loved us. Our acts of kindness are to flow out of us as the Divine renews our hearts and souls. This love is not based on a reward or the expectation of receiving anything in return. We are simply to reflect God’s love back into our world. To assume any gifts for our faithfulness is to undermine the pure essence of God.
While we serve without the expectation of a reward, we are to live as a people of hope. We hope to bring joy to one another’s lives. We hope that our world will be transformed because of the incredible acts of love that reflect the Divine. We also hope to be one with God.
I am a Christian because pure love has transformed my soul. I call this love God that is best expressed in the form of Jesus the Christ. It challenges me to make a difference in my world and calls me to become one with soul and spirit. I reflect this change by loving my world to the best of my ability. I hope for things to be made better because of the presence of God in my life and our world.