Why I Am a Christian

There are many reasons that I am a Christian, so I cannot exhaust the topic in this entry alone. This post should be part of a series, and it will be, only the series will be scattered. What I mean by “scattered” is that I’m not going to chain myself to this topic over the next several days, especially when there are other subjects that I may want to discuss. I probably will not write Part 2 tomorrow and Part 3 the next day, but I will write them when I feel like writing them. Still, I will put “Why I Am a Christian” under “Labels” in case someone wants to read the series consecutively.

Why am I writing this? Christians are supposed to give an answer for the hope that lies within them (I Peter 3:15). A non-believer may put me on the spot and ask, “So why are you a Christian?” In such a case, I will want to give an answer. There are reasons within me that I am drawn to Christianity instead of other religions and philosophies, but I have not completely articulated those reasons to myself. And if I have not articulated them to myself, how can I explain them to others? This blog gives me a chance to do some good old-fashioned journaling, to work through and clarify my thoughts and feelings. And I do so with you as an audience, whose reactions, stories, and insights are always welcome.

One reason I am a Christian is that there is a gap between the way I want to be and the way that I am.

In Galatians 5:19-23, Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the way that I want to be. I wish that I could love people who are mean to me rather than hating them. I crave a strong sense of inner peace rather than fear and insecurity. I would like to be patient instead of flying off the handle when things do not go my way. I desire meekness as opposed to parading myself to get attention. I want to be happy for others in their successes rather than envious and resentful.

Unfortunately, my thoughts and feelings gravitate more towards the works of the flesh. I like the fruit of the Spirit, but they are not exactly “me.” Is there hope for me? Can I arrive at the spiritual characteristics that I so desperately desire?

Christianity answers “yes.” In Romans 7-8, Paul says that my dilemma is the problem of every human being. God has a law that is holy, righteous, and good, and human beings are too weak to keep it. So I am not alone. I do not have to feel that I am better or worse than another person, since we are all in the same boat. And the answer to my problem is not within myself but in God, who decided to save us when we were weak and sinful.

So why am I a Christian? One reason is that it offers me the hope of receiving the life that I want. I depend on an outside source, God, to have love, joy, peace, patience, and goodness. Right now, those attributes are small parts of my character, but hopefully God will bring me to a place where they are dominant. And God is eager to help. He showed us that when he sent his Son to die on the cross. God is not out to condemn us. He is on our side.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to Why I Am a Christian

  1. ElShaddai Edwards says:

    Good post! Romans 7-8 to me is the proof text whereby God really tells us, through Paul, that He knows our inner depravity and the inclinations of our hearts to sin and still he gave us a path to redemption and renewed fellowship with Him. What a wretch I am… but God still loves me!!


  2. James Pate says:

    Thanks for the response! I enjoy your blog, especially your posts on eschatology.


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