I have not always been a Christian. I was an atheist until I was 31 years old. I had attended church with my family until my teenage years, but then I turned away completely. On my own, I began to study the philosophy of “Objectivism” and became a disciple of Ayn Rand’s books. Although I attended a religious denominational university, the professors confirmed what I had suspected all along. I left college a committed atheist.
It is difficult to believe how far amiss my thinking was in those days. After almost thirty years of being a Christian, I can look back at that time in my life and only shake my head. But then, Paul said: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
How would I describe my Christian experience? I think I would quote Tolstoy who wrote, “A man following Christ’s teaching is like a man carrying a lantern before him at the end of a pole. The light is ever before him, and ever impels him to follow it, by continually lighting up fresh ground and attracting him onward.”
The attraction (light) is still there and I am compelled to follow it. This is not just because I see the light, but now I see the real world by its brightness. It is a daily walk that I have undertaken and its progress is guided by the Holy Spirit until, eventually, I am conformed to Christ. This is more than a good life. It is the substance of the Kingdom of God.
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