Why I’m NOT A Christian…
My life feels like a mess some days. I feel more and more like I’ve failed in so many areas of my life, but most of all, in my Christian faith. In fact, some days I just don’t feel very “Christian” and if you were to honestly examine my life, I wonder if you would find any doubt of that. So why am I not a Christian? Why don’t I feel like one?
I know it’s Gods truth, and believe it’s God’s truth. I believe that it is the inspired Word of God, and that we should be encouraged to read it regularly and understand it contextually. I believe, intertwined in the entire bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the story of redemption. At first, hinted at, and later revealed in the person of Christ.
Despite all this, I don’t read enough. Why is that? Not only do I not read it enough, some days I just don’t want to read it and quite frankly, it’s barely a thought in my head. How can a person claim a faith that is so perfectly described in the pages of a book that it’s forever linked with it, not want to read it, or even forget to even consider reading it? How can anyone be a Christian if they don’t WANT to read their bible sometimes? This is one of the reasons why I am not a Christian.
This is one of the most important things a Christian can do. It is acknowledging dependence on God. It’s acknowledging a need to cry out to Him for grace and mercy for a multitude of things going on in their lives. It is saying, “help me”, when we are too embarrassed or proud to say it to anyone else. I know the importance of prayer
I have prayed in the past and still pray at times, but, I don’t pray the scriptures like so many have encouraged me to do, and like my bible reading, I do it far too infrequently. Sometimes in the midst of a storm I am most aware of a need to fall on my knees in that moment and cry out, and I don’t. How can anyone call him or herself a Christian if they feel so little internal encouragement to rely on the need to cry out regularly to God? I can’t be a Christian if I don’t pray regularly or sometimes simply don’t care to.
Ok, I know sin is bad. I also know even Christians sin, on purpose, whether they care to admit it or not. Whether or not I physically act on my sin, it is exactly what it is. It’s sin. It’s wretched and dirty and ugly, and I know I have a Savior who paid for it all. I know there is a cross which bore all my shame, and there are times I feel thankful for that.
But there are times, in the present, my mind is wrecked by my wrestling over sin. How could anyone claim salvation when their mind seems even more wicked than when it started this journey. I will spare you the details of my depraved mind, but it seems so antithetical to what the Christian life seems to represent in outward appearance. If no one else appears to wrestle with sin so disturbingly as me, how can I even claim I look to the cross for forgiveness. No, I must not be a Christian for the way I sin so deliberately, whether in thoughts, words, or deeds
I know it’s faith alone. I know it’s faith given by God. I know that no measure of my own strength would draw me to God. I am so acutely aware of this, that if there is one thing and one thing only I could say I think about most often, it’s that. By no means am I saying I think on it daily, just that above all things, I probably think about it the most.
Despite those thoughts, there are days(“good” feeling days and “bad” feeling days) that I feel in such a way, that I could walk away from it all and not look back. I could say goodbye to God, Church, the Bible, prayer, faith, …all of it, and not bat an eyelash.
Are You Doing Enough?
Ah, the clarion call of the church to the struggling Christian. Before I get the “enough” speech, please know, I’ve had “seasons” of extreme reading, prayer, meditation, works, and so on, and while those things were never bad, the struggle never went away, I just kept quiet about it. There were times you would have thought that the very hand of God had blessed me, but inside I was still dark, still struggling. I feel for so many people in the body of Christ, who have resorted to fake “I’m doing great” conversations. Maybe throwing out enough information to not look overly pious, but holding back so much more so you don’t look as ugly as the next guy. That was me and a few others at my old church, but in reality, it’s in every church in the world.
Am I The Only One?
I wonder sometimes if I’m the only one. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of this struggle, but people, being who they are in all their faulty glory, has to mean I can’t be the only one, right? Is there anyone out that understands what im getting at? I don’t mean people who in passing, read this and “feel me” as if they have something left in their back pocket to pull out at bible study to show people how “real” the struggle is.
I mean people who read it and GET IT. They get it in the very core of their being. They get it because they know what really resides inside of them.
Now I ask you, how in the world could I, or anyone be a Christian and feel the way I mentioned?
Why I AM Christian.
If I am a Christian, it’s certainly not because of all the wonderful things I listed above. After writing all of that I feel like I should just go jump in a lake of fire and get it over with. If I am a Christian, it’s for one reason only, a Savior. A Savior who so holds onto me that I can’t be free and even if I wedge myself loose, he is in my mind still holding fast. He is not letting go because he needs me or has work for me, but he holds fast to me because he loves me and does not want to see me lost. He is first and foremost Savior to us. If he is not first Savior then he will never be our Lord. So he does his job as Savior, holding his own. He holds me and he has to, because if he didn’t, I’d leave.
I know, because in all of the things I’ve mention, there is a theme present in all of it, a struggle, a battle. I don’t cavalierly mention any of those things. I hate the fact that I don’t read or pray enough. I hate sin as well. I also know that I hate the fact that I don’t hate it enough, and in this earthly form, none of us do. But to paraphrase my Pastor in a recent sermon, “one day with resurrected bodies we will truly and completely hate sin.” There are days I do feel like I could walk away from it all and it scares me. If I stop short of walking away, it’s not anything in me that hits the breaks.
I know I am a Christian even when I don’t feel like one because though it is small, I do have faith and that faith is in a Savior who purchased my salvation with his blood. That faith which was given to me by God holds me. Many times I am nothing more than a petulant child wrestling away from the grip of a loving parent who is not letting go, because they know I want to run and not care where, whether a park or the middle of the street. I thank God that He holds fast to me.
This article was more like an “off the top of my head” thought for all to read, which always makes me wonder if this is a good thing I’m doing. But, if you are in that struggle, that wrestling match with sin and self, and you doubt you’re place in God’s kingdom, please know you only struggle because Christ is holding fast to you. The only part of the struggle that we bring into the ring is the part that is trying to let go. We only have that struggle because something, SOMEONE is holding on to us.
Christ is that which holds fast to us, not letting us go.
I often wonder if I can call myself Christian while not attending church. I believe and have faith in God and yet I have trouble with the actual Church. I am jaded in some ways from past experiences. Yet whenever I am in Church I feel peace.
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Sorry it took so long for me to respond… I was off for a week and do a lot of this blog stuff at work during lunch…
Whether people care to admit it or not, we’ve all been burned by church. Sometimes people think they are being helpful and encouraging, but end up not. Other times it can be more deliberate. We’ve too often been sold this bill of goods that being in church means you’re being good and pious and holy, but the closest approximation to the symbol of a church is a hospital. It’s a place of healing. Sometimes Doctor’s remind you of what your doing bad for your own good, but in the end, they are there to heal and restore and give hope.
Sometimes its good to be reminded of how much we mess up, not in a condemning way, but so we can also remind you that because of Jesus, even though you don’t feel it, you are made whole, healed and looked at by God as if you lived a perfect life. You messed up and God’s still loves you! It’s pretty awesome, when you grasp it.
Now as far as not going to church. My hope is one day you do find one, but it doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian. When you were baptized, God was saying, you’re mine and I’ll keep my promise to keep you. it’s like being sealed.
if you have time… this is a great message. There is a link there for video, audio and booklet form. It’s aptly titled: THE GOSPEL FOR THOSE BROKEN BY THE CHURCH. The professor, Rod Rosenbladt, has a great voice. Like an old grampa, telling a story. I hope you take some time and listen… but if you don’t, that’s ok too.