Do you really believe in it?
Hi! My name is Nastia.
I love Ukraine. I was born on this land. It is my homeland where I grew up
and dreamed, and now I continue to think about a better future for our
We all know that Ukraine is the country of Christian traditions. Even if we
don’t consider ourselves religious we greet each other with the words
"Christ is Born" on Christmas and "Christ is Risen" on Easter. We follow old
traditions and go to church at least sometimes.
I grew up in a family where, as a child, I was taught to believe in God,
respect Christian traditions and celebrate Christmas and Easter "the right
way". I knew I had to go to church and be good, sensible and fair.
For me, as for many other people in Western Ukraine, Christianity was a
part my ordinary daily life.
I came to study in Kiev, a modern and progressive city where freedom of
thought reigned, everybody did what was right in their own eyes, and there
was no one truth.
From home I brought a part of my Christianity – an icon that I hung over my
bed, a protective small crucifix, and several prayers that I knew by heart
and used in difficult situations.
I thought of God only when I had problems with money, exams, etc. All the
other time I built my life myself according to my own rules. I knew God
would evaluate my life at the end but thought He didn't care about it now. I
believed that by the end of my life I could cover my sins with good deeds.
Of course I had a feeling of guilt sometimes but going to church helped
"remove" that burden.
My new friends had different worldviews. Some said God was a myth,
others weren't interested in the topic of faith and never talked about it, and
some prayed to God and called themselves Christians. Faith in God was
considered unfashionable among most of my friends. When you study in
the best technical university in the country believing in ancient ideas seems
Once there was a party in my room, and my classmate pointed to the icon
asking, "Do you really believe in it?" Everybody laughed. I raised my head
proudly and said, "I do, so what?"
The party continued. The next day my life went on as usual, yet the
question kept popping up in my head, "Do you really believe in it?"
I began to think about the foundation for my faith. Was it just traditions that
my parents had imposed on me? Did God have anything to do with my life?
Would His presence or absence influence my future, my success, my goals
and my happiness?
I started looking for answers to these questions. It wasn't easy because I
had many daily problems and cares and thinking about the meaning of life
wasn't one of my priorities.
Some time later I began reading the Bible and saw that there was a lot in it
about Jesus. Before I did not think much about who He was. Of course, if
someone asked me I would say He was the Son of God, the Holy One, the
Savior, but these were just the right words I knew.
There is a story in the Bible when priests who told people they had to follow
many rules and traditions came to Jesus. He characterized them this way,
"Hypocrites! These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me
with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:7-8)
My heart was also far from Jesus. It had no place for Him because this
place was taken by me and my goals and plans for my life.
I read in the Bible that no one could be justified before God by keeping the
law, for we all had sinned and fell short of the glory of God. Whether we
had committed many or few sins, we were separated from God because of
them. Therefore, I could not hope anymore that by the end of my life I
would deserve God's mercy by the good works I would have done.
God's mercy was revealed when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for
our sins. He died on the cross for each of us, taking upon Himself the
punishment for our sins.
God does not need us to follow traditions or go to church a certain number
of times. He wants us to trust Him with our life and He justifies those who
believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:20-26)
Now I can say with confidence that I believe in it. I believe in Jesus as my
God and Savior. Christianity is no longer a part of my life, it is my life. It is
not a religion or traditions, but a relationship with the living God and daily
dependence on Him. It is following Christ and learning from Him how to
live, love and dream…
I want to ask you, "Is there God in your Christianity? What place does
Christ have in your life?"
Think about it. Do you really believe in it?