Our churches are beginning to sound like the marketing interns who have been commanded to get a certain number of customers each day. Nearly every message preached speaks of Abraham’s blessings, of everlasting life, of healing, of forgiveness…. of the “Good News”. I know, I know, that is the gospel, right? It IS the Good News. And we are to preach it.
But can we be real as well? Can we tell the truth, the honest-to-God-truth about actually being Christian? Being a Christian is HARD! Yes, we believe we are saved, have a heavenly father who loves us, chose us, listens to and protects us. BUT, all of these do not change the fact that actually living like a Christian is called to is extremely difficult ( Note it is impossible without the help of the Spirit but still difficult with it).
Have you ever had an experience that had you looking at the sky or crying on your knees and saying “Damn, Lord you ask entirely too much”? I have. At least twice this year.
Let’s put aside the popular pitfalls of fornication, lust, adultery, drunkenness and more which usually get the spotlight when people think of what makes being Christian tough. To me, those sins just get popularity because of our culture. There is a multitude of regular ways we fail at being Christian because the bar is so high- the bar is literally heavenly and divine.
Being a Christian is turning the other cheek when slapped. It’s praying for the person you want to cuss out. It’s forgiving people who are not sorry. It is deciding to give of whatever little you have to the spread of the gospel which is often misunderstood and abused. Being African and Christian, being a woman and Christian is having to study and question because of how the message comes to these groups to justify wrongs.
Being a Christian is resigning to the fact that your life is not yours, it’s Gods and that may mean what you want to do, will not be- rather he works our hearts to match the desires he has for us. Being a Christian is being the peacemaker when you’re most likely drained from being hit from two sides. Being a Christian is a perpetual state of self-questioning, a constant battle for self-control to not do what is ‘normal/expected’ of a human with hormones, selfish desires, and ambitions they were socialized to have.
It’s believing in the unseen and imaginary- consider how hard that is in a generation where we have the motto ‘pics of it didn’t happen’. Being a Christian is doing what is right even when there are no credits to be earned because quite frankly, there ARE NO CREDITS TO BE EARNED. Being a Christian is using the long route even though you know that those who don’t go through that stress will still get to the same place. But you are following what you believe you ought to. To be truly a Christian is welcome the outcasts, love the unlovable, to resign to not understanding because A LOT does not make sense by our human logic. To be truly a Christian is to study the word for yourself and every day realize just how far removed you are from Christ-likeness. It is knowing you cannot judge because you sin differently even if society tells you ‘your own sin is better’.
Trying to follow Christ is basically killing your ‘Self’ slowly.
On this, Gandhi was undoubtedly right. To find anyone who truly emulates Christ is near mission impossible. Fortunately, we don’t need to be perfect Christians. Nor are we expected to achieve whole Christlikeness. We’re simply called upon to practice his ways and depend on his Spirit to enable us.
Simple, but still extremely HARD!
If you’re struggling with me, here’s me wishing you strength for the journey!