Seeking The One And Only

One of my favorite songs to work out to lately is "One Trick Pony" by Mercy Me.  The line that makes me smile every single time is:

If I hear just one more time that I should try and be more open-minded, 
I think I just might scream.  
The world says this is all there is, 
yet I believe the One who says there's life after this.  
Now tell me how much more open can my mind be?

The reason it's so striking to me is that it's the idea of being "open-minded" that kept me from committing 100% to being a Christian for the longest (and most painful) time.  

Have you noticed just how un-cool it is to be a Christian lately?  I'm not talking about "casual" Christianity.  You know, where a person (and I was there for a LONG time so I know what I'm talking about here) says stuff like "I believe in God, and I believe I'm going to Heaven some day because I'm a good person" and "I'm a Christian because it's how I was raised, but your should do whatever works best for you.  Hey, whatever makes you happy is sure to make a loving God happy right?"  No - not that kind of "Christianity".  That kind of Christianity is still very much accepted.

I'm talking about born-again, on fire for the Lord, Christianity.  I'm talking about "I'm a sinner.  You're a sinner.  We all need Jesus." kind of Christianity.  The "Praise God for his mercy, grace, and faithfulness" and "I love the Bible as God's literal and holy Word" kind.

Seriously.  Un.  Cool.

Why is that, do you think?  Based on my experience as part of that casual Christianity group for so long, I have an idea.  I think it's because Christianity, as the Bible teaches it, is viewed as an "exclusive" religion.  Christians go to Heaven, and everyone else goes to Hell.  Not an easy pill to swallow.

My argument for a long time went something like this:  Just look at the odds of being a Christian!  Sure, much of America is Christian.  But the vast majority of the globe for thousands (or millions) of years was not Christian.  Are you telling me that all those people are in hell forever?  That doesn't make sense.  It doesn't sound like the God I know.  It doesn't sound fair.  Heck, if you have to be a Christian or else go go hell - it's like me throwing my 3 year old in the ocean with a life preserver, screaming "good luck", and hoping the poor little baby finds the life preserver and makes her way to shore.  Ridiculous!

I also believe that most world religions taught the same basic things, so must all be of the same God.  Therefore, they're all good and fine.  Whatever makes you happy, friend.

And then I actually studied some of those world religions.  And I studied the Bible.  And to be honest, I tried my darndest to prove to myself that the Bible is a fraud and not possibly of God.

I learned that there's only one religion in the world that teaches that we can all be saved by God's grace if only we accept it, therefore not all religions are basically the same.  Yes, many teach similar things about how to live...but only one offers this unique teaching about eternity.  

And I learned that, despite my efforts to prove otherwise, the Bible really is the Word of God.

So if the Bible is God's Word, what the heck am I supposed to do with this Jesus guy?  If he really is THE way, THE truth, and THE life?  And if no one can get to God except through him?  Well, I guess I'd better get to know him a bit better.

What I learned about HIM...well, it just rocked me to my core!

The first thing I had to wrap my brain around was the fact that Jesus and God are One.  It's confusing, to be sure.  (Thinking about an apple helps me - there's the peel, the core, and the flesh.  All three have very unique qualities.  They are separate from each other in that the core can not be the peel, and the peel can not be the flesh, etc.  But...they're all 100% apple, all the time.  And by the way - you can remove the peel from the apple, but it is still 100% apple.)

Understanding that truth really made the whole picture change for me.  Suddenly, I was back to considering that child thrown in the ocean.  I realized that it's actually more like a child falling into the ocean, and the dad jumping in after the child and swimming to reach that child. And when the child finally stops thrashing around and panicking, the dad grabs hold and carries her to safety.  That dad?  He would rather drown than let his precious child drown.

And do you know what?  THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.  There came a time when God came to earth to literally offer himself so that we would have a shot at eternal life.  There was no other way to save us, so he did it because he loves us THAT much.

And it's not just a particular child that God saved.  He didn't just come for his chosen people, the Jews.  He didn't come only for people who were really trying hard to live right.  He didn't come only for people who were generally good.  He came for every. body.  

He came so that whoever believes will have eternal life.
He came to save all men.
He came for all who will ever believe in him.
He came for anyone who will trust in him.
He came for anyone who will call on his name.

All a person has to do is to stop thrashing around and kicking Him away.  All a person has to do is admit that they're gonna sink without His help.  

To go back to that song I much more open-minded can I be?  

So yeah, I'm a Bible believing "praise God" kind of Christian.  Not because it's cool or because it's what I was raised with.  I'm that kind of Christian because there is nowhere else where I can find a living God who loves me and who would die for me rather than watch me die.  There is no other God out there that is truly for every person alive, no matter their past or present or future.  

I'm that kind of Christian because my God is the One and Only all-inclusive and open-minded God around.  

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  Titus 2:11

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. John 17:20 (NLT)

If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Romans 10:11-13

When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." Mark 2:17

It seems that we were down to just one or two weekly linkers to STLS, so I thought it might be easier to just have you link in the comments section.  What do you all think?  I definitely want you to still link up - do you prefer the Mr. Linky system over linking in the comments?  Please let me know :)  

Seek The Lord Sunday Participants

1. Goat

2. Bethany

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Craig and Bethany  – (3/29/2009 09:10:00 AM)  

I couldn't agree more. I am also always struck how Christianity accepts all people on equal footing. In fact in this way I think it is actually more inclusive than any other religion. There is no discrimination against gender, race, age, position. All of us sin, and all sin, any sin is well, one hundred percent sin no matter how small or large. Yet ANY and All people can be saved by just accepting the gift of salvation. Wow! Strange that the exclusiveness of Christianity that is so offensive is that you have to accept a gift from God to be in.

Of course, I guess it probably comes back to then being under the authority of God - truly both a safe and exhilarating place to be. But, then Americans pretty much HATE authority of any kind. I wonder when we started to have such vitriol for authority. Maybe it's a human thing not just an American thing. The Garden of Eden comes to mind...

Great post. Makes me want to just be who I am, a Christian.

Are you still wanting links to other Seek the Lord posts?

Hilty Sprouts  – (3/29/2009 08:46:00 PM)  

Sorry, this is off topic! We'd love to have you guys out here. Let's plan it soon.


elderchild  – (4/01/2009 08:37:00 PM)  

The Messiah testified of His GOD and Father, and He also testified that His GOD and Father was also The GOD and Father of His Brethren, and The Messiah testified of The Only True GOD and that The Only True GOD was Spirit, and then The Messiah tesified that A Spirit does not have flesh and bones as He had even after The Only True GOD had raised Him from among the dead.

And Truly, "The Messiah was a servant of The Only True GOD" just as Isaiah prophesied.......

And The Only True GOD, HE has no god for HE IS The Only True GOD, Father(Creator) of ALL.......

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