If salvation can be compared to birth and puberty, then salvation is always going to be something of a mess.
I was a skeptic once, although not about religion. God wasn’t a mystery just yet, but girls certainly were. In the third grade, I became convinced that those long-haired aliens must have crashed into earth’s orbit from a galaxy far, far away.
I then heard the most absurd thing in Sunday School: God created Eve to be a helper! This was entirely contrary to my experience, because none of the girls I knew were at all helpful. They even refused to join in our daily burping contest at recess, calling it gross.
And so I struggled with my first bout of agnosticism. Maybe God had made a mistake. “Helper? Not in a million years!”
My skepticism lasted until the sixth grade, when, ironically, my incredulity was instantly transformed into idolatry. It was befuddling. I learned that a 10-year-old boy was no match for the power of puberty even though I had a greenbelt in karate.
I, who had once scoffed at the very idea of love, was now at its altar. My sweltering agnosticism turned into Jell-O-pudding and I found myself undone. From then on, my whole reason-for-being was split into two simple functions: (1) getting a girlfriend, and (2) everything else.
With the wisdom of hindsight, I learned that my assumptions in third grade said more about my ignorance than about the laws of human nature. This is how I went from being a skeptic to a worshipper.
Likewise, many in our culture today are going through a similar voyage in their faith journey. We might call it a “passage through spiritual puberty,” except they just don’t know it yet. Jesus said on one occasion that we must be born again spiritually to enter the kingdom of heaven, and on another, he said that we must become like little children.
This is …
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