When someone becomes a Christian from a traditional religion, they have to decide what to do with their rituals, symbols and amulets. In Thailand, a new Christian has taken long time thinking about this change before they become a Christian. They will have asked all the questions they can think to ask before becoming a Christian.
From their worldview, they see who they are born as who they will always be. Being Thai means being Buddhist, so they have a lot to struggle and wrestle with before accepting Jesus as their Lord. Rarely, do non-Christians question the truth or question the doctrines. They don’t know what to do with their practices. They don’t know how their family will take the news. They don’t know how to change into what seems like a foreign religion.
When a Thai person prays to accept Jesus, they do so with a group of friends in the church. It is a community event as the group comes around them. After praying for Jesus to be in their life, if they were wearing an amulet, they take it off. Sometimes this then becomes a trade for a necklace with a cross. They want a powerful symbol showing they now belong to the family of God. A symbol of following Jesus.
After they decide to follow Jesus, they learn how to walk with Jesus. Some of their former practices can be looked at in a new light as worshipping the Holy Spirit, seeking God’s goodness and so on. They have to learn not to see these as new and better forms of magic, but an expression of their new faith and devotion to God as their Lord.
With amulets and crosses, they need to know that the cross is not a new amulet that will give greater protection in life. They need to know the cross merely symbolizes their new faith. They can see the world through their same lens as a Thai person and have symbols of invisible spiritual truths. They know the symbols don’t carry the power, but represent the power they believe in.