If you aren’t a Christian, you may have asked yourself, “Why should I be a Christian?” You may wonder what it is about Christianity that causes so many people to “join up.” In the five short articles that follow, you’ll read about the benefits that five Christians have found in practicing their faith.
Christians Are Friends With God
The world is a marketplace, not only of consumer goods and living standards, but also of ideas. Ideologies drive wars and economies. They impact history and help shape our individual lives. Most of us have a primary ideology by which we live. I have chosen Christianity, and here are some of the basic spiritual truths I’ve discovered.
- God is good. A careful reading of the Bible shows that God is involved in a cosmic confrontation with an enemy who wants to harm you and me, and one of the ways he does that best is by getting us involved in doing bad things—what we call sin. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death.”1
But God doesn’t want us to die, so He came up with a plan to rescue us: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”2
- God has a purpose for our lives. God has an eternal plan of salvation for humanity as a whole and for each of us as individuals. The biblical God is a personal God. He pleads, “My son [my daughter], give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.”3 The Holy Spirit has been promised to guide us and teach us God’s saving truths: “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”4
- God wants to free us from guilt. One of Christianity’s greatest gifts is God’s free offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. An Old Testament prophet expressed God’s offer: “ ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ”5 The New Testament tells us this renewal is possible through Christ’s sacrifice. “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according with the riches of God’s grace.”6
- God wants to be our Friend. The Bible teaches that God is not distant or disinterested in our affairs. He wants to be our Friend! Jesus said, “I have called you friends.”7 Life isn’t perfect, but knowing we have a Friend in high places can help us to walk through life’s darkest passages without fear.
Miguel Valdivia is the managing editor of Signs of the Times®. He writes from Nampa, Idaho.
Christians Have a Good Home Life
Let’s be honest right up front. A Christian marriage is not guaranteed divorce insurance. Shocked? It’s true. Recent studies reveal that Christians are divorcing at a higher rate than their non-Christian counterparts.1 Not a great way to begin a discussion about the benefits of a Christian home, now is it? Hold on. Maybe it is.
If, by facing the truth, we come to understand that a successful Christian marriage requires more than just exchanging vows with someone who goes to church and claims to follow Jesus, we just might discover the real principles and benefits of Christlike living that make a happy home. Here are three of those principles.
A sacrificed life
Of Himself, Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”2 True followers of Jesus live sacrificed lives and practice the principles of service that characterized His life. Christians don’t “look out for number one.” They look out for the needs and concerns for others—including their spouse and children.3 Because an “it’s all about me” attitude can destroy a marriage, it’s easy to see how an “it’s all about you” attitude practiced by both partners will bless a marriage.
An atmosphere of forgiveness
Because we have received forgiveness for our sins from God, we, in turn, are to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”4 When we forgive the slights and mistakes of those who share our lives, hard feelings, grudges, and vendettas don’t have the chance to fester and become deep wounds that won’t heal. The two most powerful words uttered in a happy home are “I’m sorry.” Use them. Often.
In a Christian home, one plus one equals three. God is the unseen partner in the union, and His power to love, forgive, and heal is abundantly available to the couple who prays for and with each other. This one benefit alone provides the best defense against unfaithfulness, selfishness, and abuse. God’s presence in the marriage—not church attendance or mere religious practice—will bring happiness and the kind of home we all dream about.
These things won’t guarantee a happy marriage, but a sacrificed life, an atmosphere of forgiveness, and Divine help are definite advantages in the fight for happy and fulfilled marriages.
Randy Maxwell writes from Nampa, Idaho.
Christians Have Help With Their Finances
Being a Christian means trusting that God knows what we need—financially, as well as spiritually—and that He sees that those needs are met. I know; I’ve experienced His care.
When I was in graduate school, my wife, Jeanne, and I had to work to pay tuition and cover living expenses for our family of four. We managed to obtain the necessities of life—most of the time. At one point, though, I had been out of work for several weeks, and our cupboards and refrigerator were pretty bare.
We hadn’t told anyone of our situation. But just when we were reaching the point where we faced real hunger, some caring friends delivered several boxes and bags of groceries to us. The food they gave us lasted until I found work again and our finances stabilized.
Jesus said that Christians needn’t worry about having enough to eat, to drink, to wear. He said that our heavenly Father knows our needs, and “ ‘all these things will be given to you.’ ”1 Jesus didn’t mean that we can quit working and expect God to feed and clothe us anymore than He could step off the pinnacle of the temple and expect His Father to protect Him from injury.2 But when we’re doing all we can to meet our needs, we can trust our capable and loving Father to cover the rest. We needn’t worry.
David, the psalmist, put it this way: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”3
David C. Jarnes is a book editor at Pacific Press®, the publisher of Signs of the Times®. He writes from Caldwell, Idaho.
Christians Tend to Have Better Health
Do you know that God’s intent for the Christian’s happiness includes physical well-being? The apostle Paul tells us why this is so: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”1
The lifestyle Christianity calls for is a healthful one, because only such is able to reflect the fact that we are to be the dwelling of God’s Spirit. When the believer understands and accepts this responsibility, he or she can pursue good health as one component of physical, moral, and spiritual balance.
Jesus and health
Jesus wished to help people by rescuing them from sin and eternal death, but this salvation often included physical healing. The Gospel says that “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. . . . and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”2
Jesus still wants to impart health as well as salvation. It is interesting to note that the Latin root of the word for “health” (salus) is closely related to the one for “salvation” (salvus). Physical and spiritual health are both complementary and inseparable.
Scientific studies seem to support the benefits of Christianity to physical health. Christians who attend church regularly tend to live longer and report feeling healthier than nonbelievers. Government data show that elderly church attendees require less medical care than the elderly in the general population.
What a healthful lifestyle includes
A healthful lifestyle includes avoiding practices, such as smoking and the use of alcohol and drugs, that harm our bodies and our souls. A healthful lifestyle will also include the use of pure water; a healthful diet; daily physical exercise, such as walking at least 30 minutes; appropriate exposure to sunlight; breathing pure air; and maintaining a faith relationship with God, which ideally includes regular church attendance.
The Bible says “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. . . . If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored.”3 Learning to trust God and having Him become a Friend and Counselor are more important to our health than most people realize. Why not give it a try?
Leonardo Ortiz, M.D., practices medicine in Glendale, California.
Christians Have Hope for the Future
You’ve heard the saying, “The only things that are sure in life are death and taxes.” Of course, by using loopholes in the tax law, some people are able to escape paying all or most of their taxes. But there’s no loophole in the law of death.
Or is there?
Well, it’s true that sooner or later death will catch up with all of us. But the Bible promises eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. “The wages of sin is death,” the apostle Paul wrote, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 Even if they die, those who accept Jesus as their Savior will live again, for there’s a resurrection day coming.
The Bible promises that “the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”2
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that He would soon be leaving them, and “where I am going, you cannot follow now.”3 He meant, of course, that He would be leaving this earth and returning to His home in heaven. The disciples were terribly unsettled by this news and asked why they couldn’t follow Jesus immediately.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus reassured them. “I am going . . . to prepare a place for you [meaning in heaven]. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”4
Jesus spoke those words 2,000 years ago. And the promise He made to His disciples is also for you and me. He will return to this earth someday and bring back to life those who have died trusting in Him. And Paul said that these, along with those of His people who are privileged to be alive when He returns, “will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”5
The change Paul spoke about is wonderful good news: “The perishable,” he said, “must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.”6 So those who have put their faith in Jesus will live forever!
That’s good news only if the heaven where Jesus will take us is better than our environment on this earth right now. And it will be! Here’s how Revelation describes God’s new world: “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”7
That’s the ultimate benefit of being a Christian!
Marvin Moore is the editor of Signs of the Times®.