Testimony of Jesus Christ: Why I Believe in God
“I and the Father are one.”
My Faith Statement
The truth is, I have always believed in God the Father, believing in Jesus was another story. I can't remember a time when I did not have a spiritual need or feel God's calling on my heart.
I grew up in a home where the church was not the focus, and though I knew who Jesus was, he was comparable to Joan of Arc or Santa Clause, half myth/half hero. If you would have asked me then, a hero of what, I don't know if I could have answered you.
It wasn't until I was in seventh grade when my Aunt Kathy brought me to these crazy, hands-in-the-air churches that I found out who Jesus was. I can't say I immediately believed in Him, but I liked the idea of a Savior. He seemed like a perfect symbol of forgiveness and love, yet I held onto my doubts. I believed that He died, but didn't think he rose again.
There was a part of me that felt that Jesus made sense. I believed that He came to Earth, so the Jews would no longer have to give animal sacrifices to atone for their sins. Yet, how could someone rise from the dead?
I came up with possibilities like he was not dead. Don't get me wrong, there was a part of me that hoped that it was true, but there was way too much doubt to honestly say, "I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior."
Ironically, if you would have asked me, I would have said that I did.
Statue of Jesus
Why I Doubted Jesus
For me, I had struggled so much with doubt. Growing up, I was told such lies as Satan did not exist, Hell meant mowing endless yards for days on end, and as long as you believed in a god, you were going to heaven.
My biggest struggle was to believe that Jesus was more than a story.
My aunt continued to take me to the “loud” churches, but she also had me spend the night at her house frequently. We would talk late into the night about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. She was the first person who had answers for me. I began to see Him in a light I hadn’t seen Him before - as a Savior.
She had answers to my endless questions and was honest when she didn't know. She had books that she lent me. Other people brought me to different churches. I found some I hated, mostly Baptist ones, which is ironic because it is a Baptist church where I ended up. I think it goes to show that all churches, regardless of denominations, are entirely different.
I began searching because I wanted to belong and believe in something so badly. The truth is, I didn't fit in at school. I didn't have many friends, but the church was somewhere where I felt I belonged, even if those within the church rejected me.
Soon, I started making Christian friends, and I tried to assimilate into Christian beliefs. It sounded so great, and I had a hunger. But I was always plagued with doubt. I prayed “the prayer” at least fifty times throughout the next five years.
Reflectively, I think my prayers were more, “What if Jesus Christ is my Savior?” rather than “Jesus Christ is my Savior!"
“the Word was God,” and John 1:14 says that “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”
My Religion Search
It was not my search for a religion that led me to Christ, but my search is what gave me insight and later understanding as to why I believed what I believed. I started studying many religions and realized that I had a problem with every religion that existed. My issues with each religion were huge! Judaism and Christianity made the most sense to me. I liked their God, as opposed to the gods of other religions.
I truly felt we needed to have forgiveness for our sins, which made Judaism not as credible to me. The reason for this is because the Old Testament requires you to give sacrifices for your sin. They no longer do that ever since the destruction of Temple. So now, they believe in a religion that they have no way to atone for their sins. Christianity made more intellectual sense in that you do find atonement for your sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but I still was in doubt that he came back to life.
One thing that stood out to me was when I learned about when the destruction of the Temple. It coincides with the beginning of Christianity, which now I realize points to divine providence.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament
Soon, I had stopped my search for religion and began reading books like Lee Strobel's Case for Christ, among many others. And I started developing a head belief in Christ, but the heart was much slower. I began to see that the Old Testament prophesied His coming, and the truth became undeniable from an intellectual standpoint.
First of all, Micah 5:2 states that:
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past,
Micah 5:2 shows how God planned to have the "ruler of Israel," the man who would be King of the Jews, to be born in Bethlehem. Therefore, it is more than just a coincidence that Mary and Jesus came to Bethlehem that fateful night.
I soon discovered that his birth was not the only thing the Old Testament prophesied. It predicted many parts of his ministry. Parts big and small, like when Zechariah 9:9-10 states,
Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey- even on a donkey's colt.
Jesus riding on a donkey was fulfilled in Luke 19:28-38, when He, our King, humbled himself riding on a donkey, rather than the traditional horse — showing his equality to every man, rich or poor, of high status or low.
If you read Isaiah 9: 6-7 (written below), you would instantly realize that it is referring to Jesus Christ, although note that Isaiah is an old testament book.
For a child is born, to us, a son is given. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
Isaiah 9:6-7 is an accurate prophecy of Jesus Christ. His genealogy even shows his direct line from David.
The people of his time knew there was some truth in who He was, even those who rejected Him. You can see this by how much fear they had by His mere existence. They wanted him dead, yet he was not a harmful man. They knew that he was changing the world, and this made them uncomfortable. He was a threat to the government because it proved that there was someone/something more powerful.
You must keep in mind, many of these men knew the prophecies, and they did not want Jesus to take over their government. They took this passage as completely literal and immediate. They did not realize that there would be a later kingdom that Jesus would rule after death.
Finding Jesus Will Be There in Your Moments of Sadness
1 Timothy 3:16
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
My Crisis Point
Although all those prophesies led me to believe that Jesus was more than likely our Savior intellectually, it took me much longer to bring my heart and my mind together. In October 2001, I was 20 years old, newly engaged, severely sick, and became acutely aware of death. I remember sitting in my hospital bed, it was late at night and I began crying. I could go on for pages on what happened in my head and my heart that night, but all you need to know is I prayed unlike I ever prayed before. I prayed knowing someone was listening, rather than just hoping that God was.
I reflected on all the little signs God had given me to reveal He was there. I reflected on all the things I had done that made me feel ashamed that He had to watch. I knew I needed Jesus; I needed forgiveness.
Up to that point, I had been praying for Him to heal me, at that moment I stopped praying that, and just told God, “I accept whatever you have in store for me.” Honestly, I had hit a point where I wanted to get relief from this tremendous pain, even if it meant death. I was okay with that. I truly was. I knew I needed God. I knew I needed forgiveness and I knew I was a sinner. God had to be real. Not only that, but Jesus had to be because I needed atonement for my sins, and there had to be a way to escape Hell's punishment. It was then, all of a sudden, all of these things I had thought about before, began making sense. They became clear.
Realizing You Know God
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"
A Moment of Clarity
I don't know how to explain that moment, more than to say that I had a complete moment of clarity. I was like Saul when he hears God, and God confronts him about his persecutions, except there was no audible voice. Just one moment where I doubted, and the next, I understood many things about God and Jesus that I never understood before.
I believe that the Holy Spirit entered me at that moment. Now when I have questions, I understand at a level I didn't before. I genuinely believe it has nothing to do with the amount of studying, analyzing, or anything else that I did prior. It has to do with the fact that I surrendered my life to God at that moment, and he filled me with his spirit. Do I still have questions? Of course? Do I have doubts? Yes, but they are different? Was I changed? Eternally
Now, I realize as a result of my moment of clarity that we cannot truly bring anyone to Christ. We can educate them, we can prepare them, but only God can save that person. That doesn't mean we should stop sharing the gospel; it just means, each person will come when they are ready. We should be prepared to listen, answer, and share.
**Note, I listed, "listen," first.
And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.— Luke 7:16
The Perfect Will of God
Reflecting on my life, I feel that God was preparing me for that moment. My belief until then was a desire. But on that day, I knew I needed Him. It wasn't about me anymore. Me trying to fit into my new friends and a mold of what a Christian should be, it was now about God. God created me. He deserved my love. God has the world's best interest in mind, even if I have no idea why He allows pain and suffering.
I’m not a better person; I don't fail less, it's just I know that there was a moment when something changed and ever since that day it hasn't been about fitting into a group of really neat people, but realizing I don't want to live a day without God's presence. I need Him, and I don't deserve Him. I need someone to clean me so that when I stand before Him, I won't run in fear and shame. I can't do that on my own, and I need a Savior.
The verse that seems to reflect my life most closely is Proverbs 16:9,
A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
I seem to have my life planned in my head, but as I walk with God, I find my life leading in places I would never have wanted, but somehow with each huge step I have had to make in my life, those terrible significant steps, somehow turn into something good unexpectedly. I love saying my life is one big accident, but the truth is, it's one big happy accident.
When did you come to know Jesus Christ?
When I was...
Scripture Proving Jesus Is God
"He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" John 14:9
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works." John 14:10
"And Thomas answered and said unto him [Jesus], My Lord and my God." John 20:28
"...lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Corinthians 4:4
"...Who [Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:" Philippians 2:6
"...For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Colossians 2:9
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz