Apologetics is the defense of our Faith, and it was a big part of me coming back to a relationship with Jesus that I had abandoned in college. One of the key players for me was a man named Ravi Zacharias.  When a colleague and friend  of mine brought up the question of faith with me I started in with all my questions that I thought were deeply philosophical and blocked me from seeing any relevance in following Christ.    Instead of arguing with me my friend simply pointed me in the right direction and I was able to get my questions answered on my own by listening to teachers like Ravi.

Now if anyone is unfamiliar with aplogetics, one of the things that drew me in was how Ravi was not daunted by philosophy and logic and he always had a pithy answer that was right on target and turned the question on its head. Things like the existence of evil, pain and trouble juxtaposed with a loving God were all addressed in a way that made perfect sense to my mind that craved logic. Since then my goal was to study Apologetics and be able to win all the arguments that I had been having with myself with all my friends who were outside the faith. I longed to have one of those conversations where I would have the pithy comeback and the audience would laugh and my friend would have that light bulb moment and ask to come to Church with me. Needless to say that did not go over to well.   I couldn’t seem to get my friends to jump at my pointed questions and when they did they would ask questions that I was not prepared to answer, and I would come off looking like an idiot.   It was pretty discouraging to me that I could not bring my friends around with my new found knowledge and faith.

I have since come to find that  following Christ is more about the relationship that God wants to have with me.  One that is based on unconditional love and not head knowledge.   This understanding brought me to a new understanding of the discouragement I was feeling over not having the answers that I knew were there for the times when conversations with my friends did come up.    I started to ask myself why I was feeling disappointed.  I thought it was because I was not being effective in sharing my faith with my friends.  Turns out it was plain old pride.  One thing my pastor told me really spoke to that.  He said that no one was ever brought to Christ because they lost an argument.   I started to see that the hostility  I was encountering from my friends outside the faith was not coming from a place that needed answers to philosophical questions but from a place of pain.  My answers, even if they were on point were not addressing that pain.  Pain from a tough childhood, or difficult set of circumstances,  or a poor example set by a broken someone that was looked up to and  seen and very “religious”.   I saw that I wanted to win and justify myself and my beliefs at their expense, but only love from me without strings attached can address that pain.  For me this is where understanding the Fathers love becomes so important.  Because I know he loves me without strings attached I can relax and leave the job of touching others to him.  What spoke to me in my time of need and questioning might not be what speaks to someone else.  I can not give my faith to someone else.  What He asks of me it to love Him and love others.  All other parts of following Christ flow from that.  Matthew 22:36-40   “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

When I look at God in the context of the love that he has for us,  how he loves us no matter what were we are at in our faith or lack of it,  it blows me away.  I begin to want my life to reflect Him and my behaviors flow from that.  Loving others in that way allows the Father to touch them in the way only He can.

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