One of the greatest obstacles to becoming a committed Christian is thatÂ Christianity is challenging. The task of living a fully God-centered life is no walk in the park, asÂ the lives of the greatest and most fully converted Christians who have ever livedâ€”the saintsâ€”will attest.Â Indeed,Â Christianity lived to the fullest involves struggle.Â
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.
Iâ€™m pretty sure I know the single biggest issue Christians grapple with. Itâ€™s not a behavior, itâ€™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 donâ€™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 donâ€™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 donâ€™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 donâ€™t necessarily do that in our own lives. Jesus doesnâ€™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 donâ€™t agree with in their life and not judge them for it. There is a difference between saying â€œI donâ€™t judgeâ€ and actually practicing it in your heart.
4. The family member who opposes everything Christian
This isnâ€™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
Iâ€™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 â€œeffectively.â€ 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 clichÃ©s 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 donâ€™t reflect it. Itâ€™s a struggle to make time in our busy lives for the most important thing and when we donâ€™t make that time, it affects our daily life. The result is always, burnout. Everyone gets tired, but burnout isnâ€™t just fatigue. There are those moments when we want to throw all the cards and say â€œI quit.â€ We donâ€™t often talk about it in the moment, but there have been several times throughout my life where Iâ€™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 shouldnâ€™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 timesÂ devoutÂ Christians struggle with the fact that they are being perceived as less than perfect, so we fall into the journey of trying to be perfectâ€¦and failing every time. Along this journey we tend to fall into the battle ofÂ comparison. We know we are all viewed the same in Godâ€™s eyes, but sometimes we donâ€™t feel that way. We tend to view ourselves on a â€œbetter than/not as good asâ€ axis. Sometimes there is that tendency to look around the room and say Iâ€™m better than _____ but not as good as _____.Notice I didnâ€™t provide any solutions or suggestions for minimizing the struggles, but that really wasnâ€™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 problemsâ€¦Â 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 donâ€™t have to live under the burden of these struggles. As we draw nearer to Jesus,Â 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 Bibleâ€™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 â€œPrince of Peace.â€ Contrary to that, the Older Testament is also filled with God bringing wrath, death, and destruction. How can God be both the â€œGod of peaceâ€ and the â€œGod of death?â€ While there are explanations for this, when we face something in Christianity that we donâ€™t understand, it can shake our faith.