As a teenag­er, I was shy and didn’t make friends quick­ly. On my high school cam­pus one group had an unde­fin­able attrac­tive­ness — what I lat­er came to know as deep joy.” 

I soon dis­cov­ered that they were Chris­tians. Deep-down, bedrock Chris­tians; young men and women who knew Jesus Christ as their life. I was intrigued. 

They invit­ed me to wor­ship gath­er­ings on Sun­day evenings. I was too shy to say no,” so I said yes.” But I was also too shy to go to the meet­ings. It took sev­er­al more invi­ta­tions, gen­tle and encour­ag­ing, to get me there. The entire gath­er­ing was run by teenagers. I sat qui­et­ly, lis­ten­ing to the vibrant wit­ness and the spir­it­ed music. I wasn’t too sure about all the Chris­t­ian beliefs of my new friends, but I was drawn to the win­some­ness of their lives. 

Dur­ing those years, I was some­thing of a pseu­do-intel­lec­tu­al, and I enjoyed debat­ing issues of ulti­mate mean­ing. One excep­tion­al­ly bright young man from the group rel­ished intel­lec­tu­al ban­ter­ing. Togeth­er we dis­cussed every­thing from quan­tum physics to eco­nom­ic theory.

Inevitably our con­ver­sa­tions grav­i­tat­ed to this Jesus who claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life.” The arro­gance and the exclu­sive nature of the claims of Jesus offend­ed me, but every­thing about the life of Jesus attract­ed me. I saw a sim­i­lar qual­i­ty of life in my new friends. 

Our debates went on for sev­er­al months. While I kept up my intel­lec­tu­al defens­es, I was scru­ti­niz­ing these teenagers who lived so con­fi­dent­ly. Not that they were per­fect; but in their imper­fec­tions they always remained lov­ing and for­giv­ing and affirming. 

After about sev­en months I became intel­lec­tu­al­ly con­vinced of the res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ. Log­ic and his­to­ry per­suad­ed me that it was more rea­son­able to believe in the res­ur­rec­tion than to believe in oth­er alter­na­tives. And the lives of my friends made it all the more plau­si­ble. They were liv­ing wit­ness­es that Jesus is alive and present among his peo­ple— teach­ing, guid­ing, trans­form­ing and empowering.

I knew that intel­lec­tu­al assent by itself was insuf­fi­cient. My belief demand­ed com­mit­ment. If Jesus tru­ly has risen from the dead and is present among us today, he deserves my com­plete allegiance. 

So, as a teenag­er many years ago, I knelt by my bed and yield­ed my life to the One who declares, I am the res­ur­rec­tion, and the life.” It is a deci­sion that I have nev­er regretted. 

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Deci­sion in April 1994.

Originally published March 1994

Starting Soon: The 2020-21 Renovaré Book Club

An inten­tion­al way to read for trans­for­ma­tion not just infor­ma­tion. Runs Sep­tem­ber 2020 through May 2021.

Learn More >