I identify as Christian.
Sure, I could be identified through any number of ways such as race/ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Those aspects are all a part of me, but they don’t define me as a person.
Being a Christian does.
I was born a male with the Swedish, Irish, Scottish, British, and Native American elements that comprise my race and ethnicity. They were passed down genetically from my ancestors. They’re kind of interesting, and it’s inspired many discussions about my being related to Ben Franklin, but that’s about it. I decided I was heterosexual at the age of twenty. It influenced who I dated and married and led to three biological children with my wife.
In contrast, my decision in 1996 to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior changed the entire course of my life. In those moments when I repented for my own sins, I acknowledged Jesus as the One and Only Son of God, that He lived, died as a sacrifice for everyone’s sins, and was resurrected from the dead by God, conquering sin and death. I asked Him to send his Holy Spirit into me, and He did! In that moment, the person I had been died (in a spiritual sense) and I was reborn.
II Corinthians 5: 17-18 (King James Version = KJV) reads,
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;"
My personal relationship with the Lord has provided me with encouragement and hope over the last three decades. It saved my marriage and helped me become a better husband and father. I’ve also gained a better understanding of the Bible through the pastor’s sermons, studying the Bible, and fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ. When my health was seriously failing around 2010 and I was in constant pain, the Lord was there for me, even in the middle of the night. His presence soothed me and kept me sane. And right before I went in for major surgery to address the underlying medical issue, my pastor was there and prayed for me. I have seen and experienced the power of prayer. I’ve seen it change so many things for the better.
To me, Christianity is not a religion. Christian salvation is individual and personal. The Lord helps and inspires me in so many ways. I look to Him and seek His guidance because He’s perfect and I’m not. I make mistakes and He doesn’t. I feel His love and comfort every day. As an author, I ask for Him to inspire my writing each time before I start — and He does! He gives me ideas and unique insights into the characters and plot elements. I couldn’t have made any of my tales without Him; they just wouldn’t have been the same.
He's shown me new ways to see the world, and how to love everyone. It isn’t always easy. Like many people, I don’t like certain things that are happening around the globe. I don’t like violence and I don’t like to see anyone suffer or die, but it’s also a fact of life that bad things happen. And we can’t always prevent them, no matter how hard we try. Some people ask how a loving God could allow such things to happen? And the simple answer is that God gave humankind free will. People choose to act in ways that are selfish, greedy, and violent. Often, it’s in the pursuit of power but sometimes it’s just senseless and chaotic. God calls all of it sin.
But that’s why He sent His Son to Earth. Though Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, God made a way to reconcile humanity back to Himself. Jesus’s triumphant resurrection made that possible. When He ascended back to heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world.
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and received the Holy Spirit, that became my identity. I’m a Christian. I’m not a Caucasian (Swedish, Irish, Scottish, British, Native American) Christian or a male Christian or a heterosexual Christian. I’m just a Christian.
Galatians 3: 28-29 (KJV) reads,
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
I didn’t lose anything when I became a Christian. In fact, I gained more than I can possibly express. Everything I surrendered to the Lord, he gave back to me better than before. Except now, it was for the purpose of using the talents he’d gifted me with to glorify Him. For example, I had been a musician, singer, and songwriter prior to accepting Him. Then as a Christian, I was invited to join the Christian band, First Light (along with my wife), and the band has been all across Texas performing for the Lord.
Prior to my salvation, I’d had a hobby/obsession as an independent comic book creator. But in 2007, my wife and I co-wrote (and I drew) an award-winning Christian webcomic called Due East. And in 2013, I began work on my first Christian fiction novel, Mindfire. It was traditionally published by Ambassador International in 2019. They’ve published four more novels and one of my short stories since then.
I go through each day with a feeling of gratitude to the Lord. He took an angry creative type loner and turned him into a hope-filled creative extrovert. He took someone who had failed at romantic relationship after romantic relationship and blessed him (me) with a twenty-eight-year marriage (so far). The Lord restored my health and gave me a future. His Word helps me better understand God and His will for my life.
The joy and excitement I feel for my God and Savior frees me from my worries and makes me want to share what He has done for me. That’s not to say that I’m so great — I’m just one man on a world teeming with billions of people — but God is fantastic! In a time when people are putting down their Bibles and turning away from God and Christianity, I’m living proof that God is still alive and working in people’s lives. And I’m not alone. He can change anyone.
People can identify however they want to. Every day, people make their whole existence about their race, gender, sexuality, or some combination of those elements. But being a Christian is different. It’s not skin deep or genetic. It goes beyond gender and sexuality. Accepting Jesus permeates your entire being and allows the Holy Spirit to guide your choices, including how you treat others (and yourself - for the better). Through prayer, the Christian has communication with God, the Creator of the universe. Letting Christ lead you isn’t a whenever-you-go-to-church experience. It’s a daily walk with the Lord filled with challenges and rewards. It’s about learning to become more like the Lord, no matter our limitations, and that’s because with God, all things are possible.
That’s why I say, “I identify as Christian.” It’s the only thing that matters to me; everything else is secondary (and will work itself out). I’m focused on who the Lord wants me to be, and how I can be a help to others. I love playing an instrument, singing, or writing to share Him with others. He’s blessed me and my family in so many ways, it’s a pleasure to serve Him.
He can bless anyone. And whatever one thinks they have to give up to follow the Lord, they will gain much more from Him in return. It just takes a leap of faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) reads,
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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