Original inks on sale here
This makes 4 years in a row of me posting a portrait of Jesus for Easter.
(You can see the previous years here - 2010, 2011, 2012)
Even though I post a portrait every year I never really say anything other than 'Happy Easter'.
I'd like to change that this year. If you've followed my blog for any period of time I'm sure you've seen 'religious' art here and there and could gather that I have a Christian belief.
Honestly the word Christian at this point in the world has so many negative stereotypes that I'm not thrilled with it, but regardless, from what Christianity actually is, despite how it is portrayed in the media and by those who abuse it, I am a Christian.
I've only recently discovered God, as of 10 years ago, which seems like a while now but it wasn't until my adulthood that I learned about who he is. I was your typical American who probably believed in a 'god', but didn't think he cared much for me, perhaps he just made the world and then walked away. Set the clockwork into motion and then moved on to more important things. I had the typical questions and complaints, like why do terrible things happen? Natural disasters or school shootings, if there's a god whats the deal with all that, shouldn't he be intervening?
Those things gave me reasons to disbelieve or at the very least dislike a god who is actually there and not care enough to help out. I didn't want to have anything to do with a God like that. And hasn't the bible changed after all these years? Can we trust some document that a bunch of people wrote thousands of years ago. And whats with all this hate for homosexuals? I think people should be treated with respect despite their life choices, and one religion shouldn't shove their belief system on a person who doesn't share it. But as a Christian apparently I should hold a sign that says god hates gays right? Again, thats the kind of 'religion' I didn't want to have anything to do with, thats a god I don't want to know.
Oh and the rules, soo many rules. I won't have a good life if I join up with Christianity. I won't have fun, I won't be fulfilled. I'll just feel guilty all the time and burdened by requirements and traditions.
Even further, I'm not one likes to live life ignorantly of his surroundings. How can these people who believe in God not see how science doesn't make room for him? Hasn't science disproved him by now? He said he made the world in 6 days, and science tells us its been billions of years so did he lie? And what about evolution? I could go on and on. And I did.
And yet, ten years ago something significant happened.
I heard about Christ. What he did and what it meant, and then its like I saw what was really going on in the world for the first time.
Its a bit hard to describe, if you don't believe in God or think its all a fairy tale. Then yeah, I realize this all sounds stupid. Thats fine, I felt the same way up until that moment 10 years ago. But when you actually experience it, its hard to discount. You become a new man, something inside of you changes and its very bizarre.
Some things that were part of me before knowing Christ suddenly were gone, and its not because I was handed a rulebook and it said what I should and shouldn't do. It's because something inside, in my heart, actually changed and my wants and desires changed along with it.
I'm lucky in a way that I didn't grow up with the tradition of church or god, being taught what the rules man made are, what Christians were and weren't supposed to do. I grew up normally, public school, science solves everything, etc. So I didn't have the preconceived notions of how it all worked and how to further the stereotype. I've learned the rules and guilt that I assumed were there isn't actually, that it isn't about following some religion, its about having a relationship with an actual person, the creator of the universe.
Now, its easy for someone to say, oh well maybe you were just at a low time in your life and you needed something to make you feel good, so God became that crutch. I hardly think thats the truth. I find it funny when atheists shout about how anyone who believes in God is ignorant, a wise and intelligent person wouldn't buy into that myth, its just for the feeble minded. But then I read books or listen to lectures and debates by scientists at the head of their fields whom are also Christians, and sometimes come to that belief because of their science. And I think, really? These genius's that are at the top, they're idiots?
I think it all comes down to a matter of the heart, if you don't want there to be a God you'll live like that. You just want to have your life without any responsibility and so no matter what is presented to you, yeah your not going to believe it, its all nonsense. But if you are in the least bit curious, and aren't so close minded that there can't be a spiritual reality beyond what we see. I can happily suggest authors and speakers and scientists and mathematicians and professors, (people you might take more seriously than some guy who draws pictures) who can explain how God does make sense and is reasonable in regards to science and things beyond just our feelings. And that once someone believes in Jesus, 'gets saved' as the phrase goes, their life will be completely different. And you'll finally feel fulfilled.
Ravi Zacharias writes, “God has put enough into this world to make faith in him a most reasonable thing. But he has left enough out to make it impossible to live by reason alone.”
After becoming a believer I've yet to come across anything that makes me think, man you know I wish I didn't believe in Christ because now I can't do such and such a thing. There's no thing anyone can suggest that I feel I'm missing out on. So I don't think thats a valid complaint either, its more of an excuse. Once again its a heart issue. We put all these road blocks of why we don't like the God of the bible, or believe in Christ when really if those 'problems' were solved and questions answered, would we suddenly believe? I doubt it, I think we'd all still hold out because no one wants to be held accountable or submit to anyone but themselves.
What I'd suggest to anyone whos reading this, is try and disregard any past negative experience you've had regarding the church, put the false images the media has given you on Christanity aside, anyone who's misused God or the bible for their own political reasons or hasn't acted much like how you think a 'Christian' should, forget it. Start fresh with all that put out of your mind for a moment, sit and ask "Jesus, if you really are real, please reveal yourself to me." If you ask that honestly, and you really want to know if he's real and this whole thing is worth looking into, he's going to answer you. He answered me, and millions of others.
He won't turn anyone away, regardless of how skeptical they come to him regardless of who they are and what they've done.
Geez, this has become way longer than I intended, I'm not the most eloquent with my words so I tend to waffle around.. but the point I'm trying to say is there are legitimate answers to questions about God, and asking questions is good. I'd have drawn all of this if I could convey it with a picture (and perhaps thats all this portrait is) but I'll end this here so you can get on with your day.
I'd be happy to talk further about my faith and journey or answer any questions if anyone would like, feel free to email me at corleyms (at) yahoo (dot) com. I might not know all the answers but I'll do my best to direct you to where any I don't know are.
I want to end this with telling you, just in case you've never heard it before reading this now, there IS a God, and he sent his son Jesus to die on a cross to save you from your sins. The bible says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Then you will have eternal life.
C. S. Lewis wrote, "Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it." He is real, he does love you, and there are answers to your questions and everything I've brought up at the start of this. All my original concerns and complaints. Just seek them out, the truth exists.
There is a purpose to the universe and your life.
This is a great video about the Gospel if your unfamiliar on what Jesus did for us and what it means for us all.