I was raised in Nigeria by Christian parents. I grew up hearing about Jesus, about his life and death on the cross. I grew up hearing that forgiveness for sin is found by trusting in Jesus and looking to him for salvation. Yet, I was, as a child, apathetic toward him. Christ’s call to obedience in his word was met with indifference.
I was raised in a wider culture that saw the gospel as a tool for self-exaltation. Coming to Jesus meant getting my heart’s desires. It meant becoming wealthy, healthy, prosperous. Jesus meant, to me, a way to satisfy my idols. I thought, if I ‘trust’ him, I would never fall ill; I would get whatever I desired in life. I was wrong. I had a convoluted view of God. I saw God, not as my creator, the eternal, holy One through whom I live and move and have my being. I saw him as a distant, cold, detached figure ‘out there’. To me, he demanded obedience, and I would try to give it if I received my idols in response. It was merely a transaction.