Author’s Note – Another church newsletter submission, probably the easiest one I’ve written in a while since self-plagiarism was in play.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5: 11-12)
Recently, it seems as if hostility toward Christians is everywhere in our society – people who publically declare their faith are denounced as haters, thoughts and prayers are mocked as empty words, and even the mere mention of God can create a firestorm among non-believers. Matthew knew that persecution is part of standing up for your beliefs, and that it is as old as time itself, but he also knew one thing that non-believers refuse to accept. He knew that belief in God is an unconditional blessing that is our shield and redemption in the face of adversity. I have been reflecting on my faith quite a bit lately and wondering if I would have the courage to stand up for my beliefs if I were placed in harm’s way because of them. This led me to consider the Apostle’s Creed, which was the first piece of religious literature I ever committed to memory, and I wrote my own version, a rebuttal to those mock me and hate God.
- I am a Christian, not because I am perfect, but because I am a flawed sinner.
- I am a Christian, not because I have all the answers, but because I have none.
- I am a Christian, not because I believe Christianity is the only way, but because I believe it’s the only way for me.
- I am a Christian, not because I can physically see God, but because I have proof of His existence all around me every day.
- I am a Christian, not because I blindly accept everything I’m taught, but because my faith gives me the capacity to think and challenge the status quo.
- I am a Christian, not because I am forced to be, but because I cannot accept a reality apart from God and Jesus.
- I am a Christian, not because my spiritual journey is complete, but because it has just begun.
It is never easy to stand up for yourself when you feel like your spirituality is threatened, but God will not abandon you during your struggles. As the writer of the “Footprints” poem reminds us, God always walks with us, but it is in times of strife and challenge that He carries us and shelters us beneath His almighty wings.