My Conversation with a Christian

I’m back at it again with another faith-filled conversation to keep the “my conversation with…” series going. This week we have my good friend Caitlin, so let’s jump right in! 

In a few sentences what do you believe? 

Okay, well for starters God is real. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins which means that we can go to heaven and have eternal life. And I think that anyone who believes deep in their heart that Jesus died for them will go to heaven too.  

Why do you believe that? 

Why? Hmm, good question. Well, I’ve grown up with a family that believes that which put the idea in my head, but obviously I’ve had to explore it myself. And out of all the religions Christianity makes the most sense to me and there is the most evidence for Christianity. In other religions you have to do things to be saved/get to heaven but in Christianity it is freely given, which I think is more like what a loving creator would do. We know that we can’t earn our way into heaven because no one’s perfect, so it’s unachievable if we have to earn our way into heaven. Also, God is a loving God, and that’s why he created us, like why would a God that’s not loving create people, and then make it super difficult for those people to get into heaven. It also comes down to experience. Personally, I’ve experienced God in my life and as much as you can tell people to believe in God, unless you’ve experienced Him it can be hard to believe in something you’ve never felt.  

So, you talked about why God created us, how does that shape where you find your purpose and motivation to keep going each day? 

I think our purpose is to live for God. Well, in Mr Noble’s words, it’s to make God known. And God has given us the privilege to do that. God is a loving and powerful God so he could have revealed himself to everyone, but he has given us that purpose. Mr Noble had a good analogy: he said that one of his children liked to help him unpack the dishwasher when they were little, and though it would have been quicker for Mr Noble to do it himself, they enjoyed it (for some weird reason). Similarly, God has given us the privilege of making him known even though he’s powerful and could reveal himself to everyone right now. But that’s the best part of life I reckon. Seeing people come to God and seeing how their life and their outlook on life changes, I think is pretty cool.  

How does your faith impact the way you live? Your relationships, school, how you spend your free time, etcetera?  

It’s mainly the way I interact with people because it makes me think about how Jesus would act, well I try to think about how Jesus would act and interact with people. I think it makes me more measured in the way I respond to things. In conversation, well you’re representing Christianity and you may be someone’s only exposure to God, so it’s about always striving to reflect the character of Jesus through the way I act.  

… I think non-Christians often think being a Christian is a list of rules and that you should always be praying, reading your Bible, etc, but God has given us so many other blessings in the world to enjoy as well. Also, I feel like the gifts God has given me I use to bring glory to him like it says in 1 Peter 4:10, Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” I enjoy planning events and being creative, I don’t always use it specifically for God, like planning parties, but I often enjoy planning for kid’s church or in chapel thinking of fun ways to engage people….  

What’s one thing that is challenging about living as a Christian? 

That it’s so countercultural. I think there’s lots of things in life that our world pressures us into doing, or says it’s ‘the right thing to do’, but as a Christian you know that it’s not in line of the Bible or actually the right thing to do. But this isn’t to make our lives boring, it actually gives us a sense of freedom, Christianity is all about the long-term rather than the short-term gain. And, as I’ve written in my GLO talk, we’re citizens of heaven [Philippians 3:20] so it doesn’t matter what happens here on earth because there will be no suffering in heaven. It’s all about the long-term goal.  

What’s the best thing about being a Christian? 

Well obviously, being in a relationship with the creator of the universe, that’s pretty cool. I think for me I enjoy the community and how supportive people are. Knowing that whatever happens you still have a relationship with God, and you’ll go to heaven. I think it would kill me inside if only things on earth mattered. There are so many unachievable standards, so I would always be chasing after meaningless things that never give you satisfaction.  

In our society many people, religious or not, often find some comfort in the idea of praying and hoping for something. What are your views on prayer and hope? –  

I feel like hope is, oh we talked about this the other day didn’t we, its assurance, in the Bible, it’s not just hoping something will happen or wishing something will happen, you’re assured [Hebrews 11:1].  

So, thoughts on prayer…prayer is like one of the best ways to develop a relationship with God. When you pray, you’re not just coming to God with a shopping list, its not just one-sided, it’s a conversation. It’s not just about asking for things, it’s like talking to a friend. Every time you come up to a friend you don’t just ask them for things you tell them about your day and so on. And sometimes it can feel awkward, like you’re just talking to a wall but you’re not, its about listening too and paying attention to your life and watching for the things that you prayed for, seeing “God-incidences”. But also, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for stuff from God, you can do that, as long as it is in line with God’s character. And you realise that the answer may not be what you want because God’s got the bigger picture in mind [Mark 11:24].  

What do you think happens after death? 

So, after death, if you believe wholeheartedly that Jesus died for you then you will go to heaven, as it says in the Bible [John 3:16]. But people that don’t believe in Jesus will go to hell, which seems a bit abrupt to say but it’s true. And this is why we need to share the gospel. Heaven is perfect and it’s where we’re in relationship with God, and we can have confidence throughout our lives that we will go to heaven because we are citizens of heaven as I said earlier.  

Is there anything else you want to share? 

I would just like to say that I don’t know all the answers, obviously I’ve only lived for 16 years and am not God. And I respect people that don’t have the same beliefs as me but in the end, I do think that God is real. And I gotta end on one of my favourite quotes; God is like oxygen; you can’t always see him but He’s always there.