If you aren’t a Christian, thank you for your interest and for reading to this point. First of all, let me say that wherever you are on your spiritual journey — whatever amount of faith or doubt you have — you are welcome here. I have been through many stages of belief and doubt over my lifetime and did not grow up believing in God. I’m still learning what it truly means to follow Jesus.
So much of leadership is based on trust, and trust is earned. I encourage you to continue asking honest questions and staying open to learning. If you can, spend some time reading the New Testament in the Bible and look at the way Jesus led and treated people. Consider the things he cared about, and get to know his heart. Does it speak to the most important questions and issues of life? Does it address the realities of the world around us? Does it resonate with you, challenge you, and inspire you?
My spiritual journey was driven by a curiosity to know. Every time I discovered something in the Bible that surprised me or didn’t make sense, I would read more, or research more. I would ask more questions. Over the years, I was pleasantly surprised that these questions were being answered, but even more that I was gaining trust in Jesus’ vision and leadership. Things began to make more sense, and I saw how the good, true, and beautiful things in the world were not inconsistent with Christianity. I could live an incredibly meaningful and fulfilled life in following Jesus, and there was also the incredible promise of life after death. What did I really have to lose?
When I finally decided to make a commitment to follow Jesus, I discovered a lot of different thoughts out there about what that meant. So I thought I’d share some of what’s helped me to sort through all that.
What Is The Main Message of Christianity?
Through the Eyes of Parents and Children
There are many ways to explain the message of Christianity, from God forgiving our wrongs like a judge, to Jesus paying the price for the debts we owed. These all help to paint a picture of God’s heart towards us.
I’d like to add another way to look at Christianity through the analogy of parent and child — something all of us can relate to in some fashion:
Like parents who decide to have children, God created us so we could experience the joy of life in a world full of beautiful things, and so He could share in that joy with us. God wants to be in an enduring, meaningful relationship with us.
But many people don’t see the need for this in their lives. Or even if they do believe God exists, they don’t listen, talk to, learn from, or spend time with Him. As children grow older, they sometimes prioritize their parents less, take them for granted, or even reject them. They might even make decisions that are self-destructive, harmful to others, or damaging to the world.
This is painful for parents, and so it is to God, who grieves when we shut Him out of our lives, and only turn to Him when we need something, or want somebody to blame. But many parents continue to love their children despite bad choices, disobedience, or even complete rejection — because they see to the core of the child they know and love.
God may love His children like parents do, but forgiveness is needed to truly restore a broken relationship. Forgiveness isn’t about overlooking or forgetting what happened. A parent doesn’t just forgive without feeling the pain of the previous hurts and rejection. He or she must be willing to absorb the pain to extend forgiveness.
To forgive people, God needed to absorb the pain of all the wrongs and rejection of everyone in the world. He did this in a way that was public and clear to everyone, through coming to earth as a man, Jesus, and sacrificing his life. Jesus died as God’s sign that He offered forgiveness for the wrongs and rejections of the past. Jesus then rose from the grave as God’s sign that He was alive and ready for a restored relationship with anyone who wants it.
You can’t force someone to love you. Even if a parent forgives her child, the child doesn’t always accept it. Restoration of a relationship is not possible if one side is not interested. That’s why God offers us a choice — to accept His offer of this new relationship and kind of life, or not. For us to accept this, we must come to a point of sincere need, which involves acknowledging that we are incomplete, flawed and broken without God.
Just like our parents have influenced the core of who we are, letting God into our lives is an inner change that impacts our every thought, word, decision, and action. As our Creator, God knows us more deeply and personally than anyone else. As we grow and invest in our relationship with Him, God brings out the purest form of who we are. It is a process of growth, just like any relationship.
And it’s not just about our individual relationship with God. As we follow God, we learn to love and grow alongside others who are committed to living out the active, ongoing mission of God in the world. We join a community and a mission that’s bigger than ourselves.
Each of us has a choice to join God’s family and mission at any time, and begin a new life with Him.
Here’s another way to understand the message of Christianity: