Jesus Christ - what I know
MacGyver, Indiana Jones, Chuck Norris, Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables), Westley from The Princess Bride... all VERY cool guys in my eyes. But in terms of male supremacy, no one can compare with Jesus Christ.
So, who is he and why am I a follower (aka 'Christian')? And exactly what does this have to do with pop culture and glossy magazines?
To cut a long story short (for the full story, please pick up a Bible), Jesus was a carpenter by trade who went into full-time "ministry" in his 30s. He was sent by God to earth in the form of a man, the embodiment God himself whom he called his son, so we could be shown a model of humanly perfection to aspire to (as apposed to the glossy perfection Vogue would have us aspire to)."This is my Son in whom I am well pleased," said God (Matthew 3:17).
He healed the sick, gave hope to the marginalised and oppressed (including women), shared meals with the scum of society, condemned the ungodly (ostensibly righteous) practises of the "religious" and showed mercy to sinners. Sensing our scepticism, he also performed a bunch of miracles and fulfilled some prophecies to give us the sort of evidence we need to believe something in the absence of faith.
Then he made the ultimate sacrifice by subjecting himself to a painful death on the cross so our sins would be forgiven. That part, I've found hard to accept. But the Bible, again, is testimony to that truth. Essentially, Jesus took it upon himself to atone for our sins so we could return to living in a way that pleases God, unencumbered by our faults and failures. But, importantly, Christ rose again. And he continues to live within those who follow him – the outworking of that is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. When we accept Jesus, we accept that God's way is THE way.
To help guide us in the absence of Christ on earth, God has given us 'The Holy Spirit' (that inner compass that helps us navigate our way through the day making decisions), the Bible (the ultimate guide to a more righteous, God-pleasing life) and the church (for support, comfort and a place to safely praise him).
However, we still have free will.
When you become a Christian, it becomes glaringly obvious how 'free will' can lead you down the wrong path, while following God's will generally (actually, always) leads you to more fertile ground. Because that's how we were created. By God. Durr. He wants us to enjoy a rich, peaceful, abundant, 'righteous' life on earth, fulfilling the individual purposes he created us for (to serve in some way, use our gifts and love our fellow man). The aim of the game is to do our best and pass the test, so in Heaven we can rest.
Christianity is often viewed as a crutch for people who have nowhere else to turn, like those who're suffering from terminal illness, or for the weak and easily led. As a former hardened cynic who came into the faith at a great time in my life, I'd say that's not entirely true. Also, being a Christian isn't easy. The world conspires to trip you up. YOU conspire to trip you up. Abiding by God's laws and the leading of his Holy Spirit is no easy feat. But when you're in sync with God, the creator of all life, life is infinitely sweeter. You don't have to go it alone.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, which He gave to us in such large measure!" Ephesians 1:7