I was often asked, why Jesus Christ? I performed in sports, I visited many countries, I did many things, good and bad, I had a house, a beautiful family, I had everything I needed in order to be happy. Then some people asked why Jesus Christ, when everything seems to be arranged well in your life, when all is “happy”.
Some time ago, my view of things was different than now. I saw repentance, which only comes as a result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as something scary: I saw it as a “method of brain washing”, used by the “repentant ones” to forbid you to party, to drink alcohol, to look after and desire your neighbor’s wife, house, car. So, in my mind the idea that repentance, as ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as a commandment for us “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17), is a method used to only make you give up what you like, in order to live an honest but sad, full of absolutely nothing kind of life, was growing stronger and stronger. I considered those who lived that kind of lives as victims, kept in bondage by a chain of lack of knowledge, of lack of information. During the rare discussions I had with that kind of people, before I came to know the Lord personally, people who lived through and for Jesus Christ, I tried heavily to convince them that they were wrong, mistaken, that they isolated themselves from the world, and by doing it they have no idea what the miss: parties, weddings, and all kinds of good times; that life must be lived, not abandoned.
I enjoyed visiting often my grandmother, my mother’s mother. She was a godly woman, Mum Ruzalia, as we used to call her. I would often find her on her knees, even at noontime. And I didn’t understand why she does it, as it wasn’t bedtime, when people usually say “Our Father”. But she had this habit. As soon as she found some free time, she knelt down before God and prayed.
We talked about different things, but every time we left she didn’t miss telling us that she prays for us, and Jesus Christ, in whom she believes, will hear her prayers and will eventually answer them. I used to look at Mum with much love, but also with pity. I was telling myself “What could and old lady, living by herself on a hilltop, know? What could she know about this world, about the existing technology? What does she know about the pleasure of traveling and having a good time? Poor old lady…” At that time, I considered her as one of those who lost their way, those who know nothing else but God, Jesus Christ, repentance, love, goodness…
Well, so far a little glimpse of what used to be and the way I saw things in the past. Today, not only that I share the same hope with those who I considered lost at that time, but I see so clear, it’s as someone took away a veil from my eyes. At that time I was absolutely led astray and blind!
Why do I say it? People are often led astray by the enemy of our souls, the devil, who declared himself an archenemy of humanity from the very beginning of the world. There is only one way to know the reality, to know what’s good and what’s wrong for our soul. We must carefully read the Bible, which is God’s Word for us. It explains to us, step by step, what we have to do in order to avoid to be led astray by the devil.
Some people who claimed to be scholars and have knowledge of the holy things and teachings came to Jesus. They asked Him a question, and the Lord Jesus Christ gives them a probably unexpected answer, but reflects reality: ”Jesus answered and said to them, „You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Mt. 22:29)
Why did I see repentance as a scary thing? Why did I see the “repentants” as led astray people? Why was Jesus Christ just a picture on a wall? Why? Because I, myself, was lost, because I did not know the Scriptures (so far in my life, I never opened a Bible: of course, didn’t read it at all), and I didn’t know the power of God, how could I, since I didn’t know Him in a personal way? So, the answer given by Jesus to the Sadducees in Matthew 22 is a valid answer for me, too and it’s true for whoever doesn’t read the Word of God in order to understand what is good and what is not good to do for his own soul.
From the words of the Savior we understand that the way to find the Truth and not wander is to know the Scriptures. And how can we know the Scriptures better than by reading the Bible? So, I encourage you to read the Bible, if you have the same way of thinking and preconceived ideas I once had. Reading the Scriptures will help you clarify for yourself what is good and what is not.
What did I find in the Bible? I found life, I found that repentance is not a word invented by “repentents” but is the command of God for us. The apostle Paul tells the people of Athens in Acts 17:30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent”. I found out that God is love and He loves us, but also He is righteous and will judge people according to righteousness. I found in the Bible that I had to change something to my life, to the way I lived, to the way I thought, to the way I spoke. I found the following verse “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Then I thought “Wow!” If God had and has only one Son and He gave Him to be sacrificed for us, then the love of this God is extremely great. What do I have to do to benefit of this great love? The Bible says I only have to believe, and so I did. I believed with all my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and through His sacrifice on the cross I can be forgiven of all my unclean past, of my mistakes, of my bad words. Even though today I’m in a prison paying for my mistakes, I’m firmly convinced that in God’s eyes I’ve been forgiven because I believed in His Son!
Now, to answer the title question (“Why Jesus Christ?”), I’ll write a few of the reasons that caused me to believe that Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, is the only One who could help me. I’ll share with you a few personal experiences I didn’t share publicly so far, did not discuss them even with people close to me, since they are intimate, very personal things. Then, why do I do it now? There are two motives: 1)First, for the glory of God; 2) Second, to tell you, the one who read this, that no matter how heavy is the burden you carry, there is Someone always ready to lift up your burden, trouble or problem and carry it instead of you. Jesus Christ is a burden carrier! Praise Him forever!
A few years ago I wasn’t following the Lord yet, I was confronted with a thought (and it was more than a normal confrontation). It was an insistent and perverse thought that haunted my mind telling me to close the account with life and commit suicide. This thought, transformed in a heavy burden, was one of the fiercest battles I ever fought. A lot more difficult than any fight I fought in the cage or in the ring. I could say that it was a life and death battle.
I don’t know how many of you have ever fought such a battle, but for my it was huge. I didn’t talk to anyone about this battle as I thought that such a though denotes weakness. Before I knew God, Who broke my ego, there could be no thought of weakness in Ghita Ignat’s life.
Oh, if it were only that! There were many weaknesses in my life, but I was never strong enough to talk about them. Today I can say I boast in my weaknesses, not because of me, but because God has delivered me from them! Praise be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
I will not go in details concerning the treacherous thought of suicide, but I want to tell you as an encouragement that, if I’m alive today and can share these things, it’s because Jesus Christ lifted up the burden of that dirty thought from my mind. Maybe in a future letter I’ll go into details about this episode of the fierce battle of the devil against my soul and my life.
Now I want to say something about the second burden that pushed heavily not only on my soul, but on my wife’s, too. It pushed heavily on our marriage, on our family. I would call it the burden of divorce. I know there are many couples in this world confronted with it and caryrying this burden, without knowing that Jesus Christ is always ready to carry it for them, so that they could live happily and in love until an old age.
At that moment of our lives we had two beautiful and healthy children, a house and a car, and everything we needed. In the eyes of those around us, we were a happy and fulfilled family. But, after a while, my wife and myself had 5 different attempts to go to court and fill in for divorce. We didn’t have a certain reason; we just wanted to finish with it. We had talks about how to divide the children between us, just as you would talk about dividing some candies. Nothing made sense and had any value in our eyes, anymore. The heaviness of the burden of the thought of dissolving everything pushed hard on our souls. But praise be to God that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, lifted up this burden from our shoulders! He did it before it was too late and before we lost everything! Glory to Him!
These are two of the burdens that lied heavy on me and could have had unhappy consequences in my life, burdens that were lifted up in a miraculous way by the Lord Jesus Christ at the same moment when, desperately, I cried to Him for help.
Yes, Jesus Christ is a burden carrier. Not because I say it, but because He says it and encourages us to come to Him and ask for His help when the burden is too heavy for us – Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Now I know why grandma Ruzalia is always on her knees in prayer. I thought she doesn’t know many things, but she knew the Truth and had a long, many –years personal relationship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. For a very long time, she brought her burdens and trouble at the feet of the Lord and enjoyed quietness and peace. That’s how I did it, and I encourage you to do the same.
I hope it doesn’t bother you that I write from a prison. All I write comes from love, with the hope that what you read on this blog could be helpful.
In the future, I’ll write also about other burdens extremely difficult to carry, burdens that were lifted up and carried by the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of me!
BE ALL BLESSED!
Botosani / January 16, 2017