One of the greatest obstacles to becoming a committed Christian is that Christianity is challenging. The task of living a fully God-centered life is no walk in the park, as the lives of the greatest and most fully converted Christians who have ever lived—the saints—will attest. Indeed, Christianity lived to the fullest involves struggle.
Everyday, it seems society plummets further into moral decay as truth becomes relative and biblical values are pushed by the wayside. In such times, the importance of Christian higher education and the development of Christian thinkers cannot be overestimated.
I’m pretty sure I know the single biggest issue Christians grapple with. It’s not a behavior, it’s a belief. But why?
1. Not having all the answers
As Christians, we sometimes struggle with the aspects of God, faith, and Christianity that we don’t understand. To be fair, no one understands the complete, true nature of God, but everybody tries to. When people ask us questions about life, circumstances, or theology that we don’t know the answers to, it can shake our faith to a certain degree.
3. Trying not to be a hypocrite
A lot of times we know what is right and what we should do, but we don’t always do it. Knowing what to do and doing it are very different. Other times people ask us for advice in situations where we know the right thing to tell them, but we don’t necessarily do that in our own lives. Jesus doesn’t think highly of hypocrites, and some of our biggest struggles is not to be one. With that, we can struggle with judgement. We try not to judge because we know it is not our job, but at the same time its an honest battle to look at people who are doing things we don’t agree with in their life and not judge them for it. There is a difference between saying “I don’t judge” and actually practicing it in your heart.
4. The family member who opposes everything Christian
This isn’t the non-Christian, this is the anti-Christian. It seems like everyone has that one family member who completely despises anything and everything religious. Because of that, often times that relationship is fractured because we always feel like we are being attacked and talked down to in every interaction. How do we love someone who hates something that is so precious to us?
5. Questioning our faith
I’m almost certain that everyone questions why they believe what they believe at some point. A lot of times this can be frustrating because every Christian wants to have an unwavering faith, but we can struggle to get it. This can really challenge our identity because the issue we are struggling with is the very thing that defines who we are.
6. How to effectively share our faith without being over-the-top
Notice I said “effectively.” One of the key elements of Christianity is being open and willing to share our faith with others, but the practical way of doing that is a struggle. How do we do it in a way that is effective but not over the top? We can throw in all of our Jesus clichés and catchphrases in response to this, but the struggle of being an effective evangelist is real.
7. Making adequate time to spend with God
We give lip-service that God is the most important thing and we love Him more than anything, but sometimes our agendas don’t reflect it. It’s a struggle to make time in our busy lives for the most important thing and when we don’t make that time, it affects our daily life. The result is always, burnout. Everyone gets tired, but burnout isn’t just fatigue. There are those moments when we want to throw all the cards and say “I quit.” We don’t often talk about it in the moment, but there have been several times throughout my life where I’ve been so upset, depressed, and tired that I was ready to throw in the towel on Christianity. Sometimes we think because we are Christian, we shouldn’t struggle like everyone else. But that is simply not true. The only difference between Christian and non-Christian struggles is that Christians know where their help comes from.
8. How people are perceiving me
When people know you are a Christian, you no longer just represent yourself, but you represent the name of Christianity. A lot of times devout Christians struggle with the fact that they are being perceived as less than perfect, so we fall into the journey of trying to be perfect…and failing every time. Along this journey we tend to fall into the battle of comparison. We know we are all viewed the same in God’s eyes, but sometimes we don’t feel that way. We tend to view ourselves on a “better than/not as good as” axis. Sometimes there is that tendency to look around the room and say I’m better than _____ but not as good as _____.Notice I didn’t provide any solutions or suggestions for minimizing the struggles, but that really wasn’t the point of the blog. The point of the blog is to highlight the first step of finding the solution, which is recognizing our problems… Truthfully, these are struggles that everyone, religious or not, likely face in one way or another. However, as Christians, our focus is on the one who conquered all struggles and to recognize that we don’t have to live under the burden of these struggles. As we draw nearer to Jesus, the more distance we put between us and our struggles! The closer we are to Jesus, the farther we are from the struggles of world!
10. Confusion about the Bible’s apparent contradictions
While most Christians believe the Bible lines up together perfectly, sometimes, at first glance, the scriptures can appear to contradict each other. For example, Jesus is referred to as the “Prince of Peace.” Contrary to that, the Older Testament is also filled with God bringing wrath, death, and destruction. How can God be both the “God of peace” and the “God of death?” While there are explanations for this, when we face something in Christianity that we don’t understand, it can shake our faith.