A comment to my previous post “easy” got me thinking.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes Christians make it hard for others to want to believe in God, but people typically don’t need someone else to make them not want to do things. There are many reasons I don’t want to do things, and few of them really have to do with other people: I don’t want to exercise because it seems like too much work, and I don’t want to try bungee jumping because it looks like a foolish thing to do. However, I didn’t want to try eating sushi until I met someone who liked it and made me think it would be good to try. I tried it (not sashimi–raw fish, but sushi) and found it good. And my family made me want to exercise again by doing it themselves and encouraging me to join them. Suddenly exercising looked a lot more inviting when my sister was challenging me to do more push-ups or my cousin was running out ahead of the pack. More often, other people make me want to do things that they are doing and finding fun.

Usually, people make decisions based on deeper reasons than mere dislike for someone else: usually they are motivated by things like fear, jealousy, power, and desire. Ultimately, people won’t become Christians because they don’t want to become Christians, not because someone else ruined it for them. They’re afraid of the unknowns of Christianity; they are jealous of God’s claims upon the lives of His creation; they don’t want to give up control of their lives; they’re too caught up in what other things they want to take time to think about spiritual things; . . . the list is endless. Often they need others to help them want to know God.

Christians were first called by this title in an ancient city that recognized their likeness to Christ Himself. He is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. And as the most wonderful man of all, He made many people want to draw closer to God. After His death and resurrection, Christ returned to Heaven leaving His followers on earth to reveal Him to the watching world and to each other. The title “Christian” was first given to them by those who had not believed in Christ yet but could see the resemblance between the Christians and Christ Himself.

I do have to admit that there have been some people who have made me not want to know God more: their lives have not met up with the God they have preached and their teaching has turned out to be false in some ways. Wading through the things they have taught me and figuring out what to keep and what to throw away has been challenging, especially at first when the urge was to throw it all away! But there have been many more people who have made me want to know Christ more, who have taught me truth and lived that truth, who have encouraged me by being like the Christ they are named for.