Friends! We’ve reached the final post in this blog series based on Josh’s best-selling apologetics classic: More Than a Carpenter! Our goal in these 17 posts has been to definitively answer “Who is Jesus?” This week we’re sharing with you how Josh made the leap from diehard skeptic to sold-out believer.
In Josh’s case, the journey took time. The historical evidence he’d studied for months in libraries across Europe had convinced Josh of the facts supporting the truth of Jesus being the Son of God. Yet Josh still “felt a strong reluctance to make the plunge” of asking Jesus to be his Savior.
Read on to learn the personal hurdles Josh had to get past to fully believe in God’s love and power. Perhaps Josh’s struggle is the struggle YOU are experiencing in your own heart and mind today.
Josh’s Hurdles to Trusting
“I had to admit,” says Josh, “that Jesus Christ must be exactly who He claimed to be. I could plainly see that Christianity was not a myth, not a fantasy of wishful dreamers, not a hoax played on the simple-minded, but rock-solid truth. My mind was telling me that Christianity was true, but my will was resisting it with all the energy it could muster.”
Yet two hurdles held Josh back: The first was pleasure. Becoming a Christian meant having no more fun … right? “I did not want any party pooper spoiling my fun,” Josh admits. “I couldn’t think of any faster way to ruin my good times.” Typical thinking for a college kid. But many people have the mistaken idea that choosing Jesus will remove — rather than add — joy to their life. That life becomes one big “Do Not!”
The second obstacle was Josh’ pride. If Josh chose a relationship with Jesus, he’d have to admit that the Christians on campus who had dared him to disprove God were, well, right. Having egg on his face galled Josh. “Every time I got around those enthusiastic Christians,” he admits, “the inner conflict would boil over.” Letting go of ego can feel incredibly painful. Especially when you pride yourself on your intellectualism, as Josh did.
Josh had believed that Christianity was fake — and Christians dimwits for believing in it — and now he was faced with deciding whether to become one of them. Another hurdle!
“I had always tried to be open-minded, but not so open-minded that my brains would fall out,” quips Josh. Yet in his research of Christ, Josh had to admit that he’d found “the most solid reality” he had yet to experience. So on December 19, 1959, at 8:30 p.m., Josh finally invited Jesus to become his friend and Savior.
Indisputable Personal Proof
His prayer wasn’t a “bolt of lightning” moment, admits Josh. “After I prayed, nothing happened. I mean nothing. And I still haven’t sprouted wings and a halo.” But Josh did slowly begin to notice changes within himself. One of the biggest changes was relief from his constant restlessness. Before he accepted Christ, Josh says that he always had to be occupied; that he was always bouncing off the walls. But he began to feel a mental peace that helped to settle him.
And he felt better able to handle stress and conflict. Josh had previously “walked around ticked off with people, things, and issues,” his insecurities causing him to view most people as threats. “I used to blow my stack if anyone just looked at me cross-eyed,” Josh admits. “My temper was such a part of me that I didn’t consciously seek to change it. But one day I encountered a crisis that should have set me off, only to find that I stayed calm and collected.” His no longer felt goaded to angrily lash out.
Another amazing change was God’s removal of Josh’s deep-seated hatred toward his father, the town drunk. “My high school friends had made jokes about my dad’s drinking,” shares Josh. “They didn’t think it bothered me because I fell in with the joking and laughed with them. I was laughing on the outside, but let me tell you, I was crying on the inside.”
“About five months after I made that decision for Christ, a love from God entered my life so powerfully that it took that hatred, turned it upside down, and emptied it out. I was able to look my father squarely in the eyes and say, ‘Dad, I love you.’ And I really meant it.”
One day Josh’s father looked at Josh, totally blowing Josh’s mind as he said, “Son, if God can do in my life what I’ve seen Him do in yours, then I want to give Him the opportunity. I want to trust Him as my Savior and Lord.” Unlike Josh’s steady metamorphosis, his dad was instantly changed. “It’s as if God reached down and flipped on the light switch,” says Josh. “Never before or since have I seen such a dramatic change.” His supernatural 180 influenced many in his small town to give their lives to Jesus, too.
The second person that Josh was able to forgive was Wayne, the hired help who had sexually molested Josh for 6+ years. The unwanted abuse started when Josh was just six years old. “I wanted Wayne to burn in hell and I was willing to escort him there,” admits Josh. “The memories of the abuse scarred me.” But after accepting Christ, Josh was able to release his hatred.
“It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I could never have done it on my own, he says. “If you have a similar story, be assured that you don’t have to face your demons alone, either. Your past can be overcome with God’s help.”
People can mock and ridicule Christianity — as Josh himself once did — but it’s powerful and it’s real. Christianity isn’t a religion. It’s not an ethical idea. And it’s not a psychological phenomenon. It’s a person, Jesus Christ.
Don’t let trusting in God’s love and goodness be a hurdle for you. Jesus wants to change your heart, heal your wounds, and renew your life. You just need to grant Him access.
Jesus is continually trying to get your attention and draw you to Himself. Your present isn’t a hurdle to Him. Your past isn’t a hurdle to Him. There is nothing you can do to remove His love and grace for you. This may sound impossible to you, but it’s one aspect of Christianity that you initially have to take on faith. Then, as you daily grow in your relationships with Jesus, He will continually prove it!
“Perhaps the prayer I prayed will help you,” adds Josh. “Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Forgive me and cleanse me. At this very moment I trust you as Savior and Lord. Make me the type of person you created me to be. In Christ’s name. Amen.”
In this series we’ve focused on showing you that the claims of Christ stand firm as solid historical facts, confirmed by the evidence of history, prophecy, and reason. Understanding the facts will give you a solid, dependable foundation to stand on as you experience Christ for yourself!
Jesus: He’s More Than a Carpenter!
> Watch how More Than a Carpenter changed one reader’s life AND set off a chain reaction that introduced many others to Jesus. That’s how the truth of God’s love is shared: person to person!
> Want to learn more about starting YOUR personal relationship with Jesus? Click here.