Friday, May 24, 2013

Staying Christian

It's funny because every once in a while someone makes this comment to me about how good of a Christian I am. And I HATE it when people say that because they are generally narrowing my life to a list of things I do or don't do, or generalizing my personality into being a cookie cutter Jesus loving freak who has no selfish desires or even struggles with sin. And they make my life look and sound so easy... like following Jesus for me isn't difficult at all. And I'm like, honestly? Do you even know me?

Because yes I love Jesus and praise God you see Him in me (that would be a miracle) but the struggle is as real for me as it is for you. (Ask my brother ;)

Sometimes I don't feel like a good Christian. I don't feel like being nice. I don't feel like reading my Bible, listening to Christian worship music, or being kind to people. Sometimes instead I want to watch Netflix movies instead of having worships or gossip or lie instead of having painful conversations. And maybe you say that's nothing compared to my sins? Well to God it's all a level playing field and often Satan loves to start ruining our lives by creeping into the smallest "harmless" activities.

My moods contradict often contradict Christ's character when I struggle with feeling selfish, anxiety, depression, lusting after things or humans instead of Christ... If I fulfill my feelings and momentary desires I will be reaching for things of the flesh like guys to talk too, friends who satisfy my immediate needs by telling me the right things, activities that seem like fun but hurt my purity and brain overtime, or even making idols out of school or work.

The world, and often my friends, may justify me for giving in to some of these desires. After all, all Christians "need a break" right; should "lighten up" and "everything is good in modesty" right. If it's not an addiction and it's just a one in a while thing is it ok?

Trust me, I'm just like you, I struggle with selfishness, self-worth, and waiting and following God. I struggle with the desire to read my Bible. Spending personal time with God daily is not always easy.
But here's the thing guys it's SO Important.

Becoming Christian isn't some one time thing, it's not a great story that happens and then you get there. There will be highs and lows and there will be those great miracles that God does in your life. I know I feel like parts of my testimony are really powerful but then there's other times when I'm just like "I need help" times when I am hurting and feel alone in life or in my faith.

For me  the hardest part of following God for me is staying Christian in the day to day grind of life. Like how do you stay close to Jesus without falling away, without giving in to the mood swings, without getting distracted from the things this world throws at us to distract us? And I believe that also the most powerful part of our testimonies is the waiting part, it's the dark before dawn, it's the preparation period where we chose to be faithful- where we chose to stay Christian. And not just "Christian" in that we went to church and claimed the label but where our day to day walk shows us daily surrendering everything to God, praising Him daily, experiencing His true joy.

Friends, we are often so impatient. We are taught that we should be able to get what we want by taking the quickest route, maybe even the drive through. Pit stops to Starbucks for a latte are encouraged as long as we don't get too off track. But the journey to God is so unlike anything else on this planet. It is a long life changing process where God literally strips us away from self and everything from our old life. It is not fast and short cuts will quickly lure us to Satan's counterfeits. Pit stops are dangerous where the devil waits to tell us lies.

The point of me writing this is that I want to share that I am just like you- a struggling Christian. I believe we have to get beyond the comparing others relationships and take ownership for how our personal walks are going. If I am not actively reading my Bible and prayer that is no one's fault but my own and if I cannot share how Christ has been working in my life in the past week, maybe He has not been working.

My life has not been easy or perfect. I've had my own personal struggles and journey with God just like you have. And even though I've followed God for a while, and spent times as a missionary and even as a camp "spiritual director"- every day for me is a totally new day to get to know who God is and see what He's doing new in my life. I just encourage you for one, stop labeling people and making assumptions, or trying to pressure them to meet your expectations .But for two, most importantly, take accountability for your own Christian life with God. Stay Christian and don't just stay on the fence but learn to be a mini disciple of Christ. Start focusing on Him instead of you and He will totally turn your life around and give you this crazy joy!

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