Pretending to be a Christian

By: Chislon

I grew up in a religiously Christian household and went to church all my life. I ‘accepted Christ’ when I was just 10 years old, seeing that people got emotional around me and I felt like I was just like them. As far as I was concerned I grew up as a Christian and did all the right things to be called one. By high school, I was serving as a youth leader on my own volition at the church I was attending, going to Teens Conference, was a willing participant in a high school revival movement at the time called Youth On a Hill, and was helping in my high school fellowship. After reading the book ‘Purpose Driven Life’, I felt convicted to get baptized.

This period was driven by a naive emotionalism, enjoying singing worship songs, and doing things to be accepted into the company of people who I liked to be around. This ‘faith’ flamed out by the end of high school, as I suffered from a cognitive dissonance that deep down I was not a true Christian. I expected God to help me have the best life, but life wasn’t as easy as I expected, so when this didn’t happen I became angry at God. I was initiating fights regularly against my father. On top of that, I was gaining an obsession to entertainment including video games and anime.
In university, I still carried the ‘Christian’ label. I was still intellectually learning about the faith and casually participating in the Chinese Christian fellowship where I found comfort. Through this learning process, I understood my faith in high school had no substance because the intellectual grounds for it were false. My hollow Christless Christianity was merely therapeutic moralistic deism.

After graduating from university in 2010, I returned to the home of my parents. My career situation was never quite satisfactory, and I continued to be addicted to entertainment as a way of escape for some years to come. Although I managed to be church hopping from time to time, I never stuck to any church community. I had no desire at all to return to my church during high school, where the people I was close to were no longer there.

Finding Church

It wasn’t until late 2015, by coincidence, that I was invited by someone from my previous church in high school to go to their church – Logos Baptist Church (York Region). There I found a family I knew from my high school days that I admired for their care and their service within the church. Since I lost my job due to layoffs soon after I found Logos, I committed myself to participating in church events, and connecting with a few of the older men there.

In late 2016, one of the men I had connected with at Logos announced to the congregation that his wife was having a deformed pregnancy, but were planning to keep the baby to honor God. That afternoon, we went to the church of one of the deacons to pray. During this prayer meeting, I felt touched by the goodness of God through the care of the church even in the midst of much suffering. I became deeply convicted in guilt for my sinfulness, that I should have been trusting God regardless of how upset I was at the way my life turned out. This event helped awaken a sense that I could really trust God.

Being Made a Christian

In January 2017, I had a few significant encounters. I looked for counsel from someone I had looked up because how close I thought they were with God, to talk with them about their experience of Passion Conferences 2016, where they had seen John Piper in person. As they were sharing, it awakened my deep connection to John Piper’s online ministry at Desiring God, which was significant to me during my university days. Then I attended Greater Toronto Spiritual Life Convention where I heard Bruxy Cavey deliver a clear understandable message about the love of Jesus Christ to save sinners.

Later that month, I had another discussion at an evening meet up with another person who I considered as someone close to God. As I was about to sleep that night, I realized a compelling sense of the merciful love in the suffering of Jesus for me, even when I didn’t deserve to be loved. It brought me to tears, to my knees, leading to an overwhelming and freeing sense of joy in receiving such good news about Jesus. From that point on I knew I was a Christian.

My life has been changing after my faith in God started to grow. My need to be constantly entertained has been significantly reduced. I started to have a much improved relationship with my father, loving the church, and learning to care for people. I started to sing Christian songs like I meant it, after not being able to sing the words for years. I became able to overcome anxiety face-on when I can remember what Jesus did for me. God has been gradually transforming me to have a personal and tangible relationship with Jesus through the Bible and life itself.

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