The Reality of Being a Christian
By Jaunyce Priester
Passion fills us. Conviction pierces our hearts. We are confident in this decision. We raise our hand. We recite a prayer. We are saved. It’s all going to be different now. The way we think. The way we speak. Our desires. Our perspective. Stress is no match for salvation. Temptation has got nothing on a soul dedicated to Christ. We are a new creation. Old things have passed away.
We walk away from the altar. Drive home from the church. Our week begins.
Monday we are on fire. Tuesday the fire still burns. Wednesday our fire begins to wane. Thursday we begin questioning our decision. Friday we are unsure if this is what we want. Saturday we give up. Sunday we are back at the altar. And the cycle begins again.
After so much repetition we begin to question if being a Christian is really worth it. Wasn’t it supposed to get easier? Wasn’t stress supposed to dissipate? Weren’t troubles and temptation supposed to cease? Why does being saved feel a lot like being unsaved? And in some moments, why does it feel harder than being unsaved?
I am going on 20 years of being saved, and I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that just this year I had those very questions. Five-year-old Jaunyce did not understand the commitment she was making when she asked Jesus into her heart. 24-year-old Jaunyce at times questioned the commitment.
Being saved was supposed to change everything! I was supposed to be happier. I was supposed to have the desires of my heart. I was supposed to be blessed, the head and not the tail. My cup was supposed to run over. My relationships were supposed to last. Money was never to be an issue. My dreams were to be a reality. My life was supposed to be different. But I don’t see that big of a difference between a Buddhist and me. I don’t know if there is that much of a difference between me and others who deny God all together. My reality of being a Christian is far beneath my expectation of being a Christian. So what should I have expected?
Well, I believe I should have had less expectation in God changing things externally, and more in him changing my heart and perspective. Romans 12:2 says “…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
How you think ultimately determines what you believe. What you believe shapes who you become.
The reality of being a Christian comes down to this. We are in relationship with the lover of our soul. This relationship brings us a love that transforms us from the inside out. It changes our hearts and perspectives, which in turn changes the way we act, interact, and react.
The reality is that life will be hard, life is still gonna have some very painful and sucky moments when you are saved. The most pain I have ever experienced happened when I trusted God the most. But that was also the time I experienced the greatest peace and developed a new level of compassion and selflessness.
So yeah, stress hasn’t dissipated but how I handle stressful situations has. I still have some pretty sad and painful moments, but I am no longer a slave to my emotions. Troubles and temptation have not ceased, my thinking they needed to in order for me to be strong in my faith has. Being a Christian hasn’t gotten any easier, I have gotten stronger. Things haven’t changed, I have.
It starts with us; it starts with our hearts and our minds. And that, my friends, is the reality of being a Christian.