I was teaching about this in our Foundation for Transformation Conference when a guy raised his hand asking if he could share. I asked him to go ahead and his story was quite compelling. Listen to his own words.
I became a Christian later in life. I was immediately excited about Jesus and living for God. After a few months, I was failing miserably and felt very disillusioned. This Christian life had looked incredibly promising at changing my life but it wasn’t working. I found myself continually disappointed that I was committing some of the same old sins I had before I met Jesus. I asked some guys who had been Christians longer than me for help and they told me to read my Bible and pray more which I did. At first, it seemed to work…for about 5 days. Then I went right back to those sins again. This went on for another few months until I finally said, “To hell with trying to live this Christian life. I give up.” And I walked away from the church. The strange part is that I was a nurse working in the part of the hospital where people were there to die. So when no one else was around, I told them about Jesus and offered them His salvation. I knew He was the only way to salvation, I just couldn’t make the Christian life work in everyday life.
This guy figured out early on what it takes many Christians years to finally accept. Living the Christian life successfully is impossible. Once people do realize this, their life takes one of these three trajectories. They give in to sin and leave the church. They stay in church and try to balance their failures with too much service to God. They stay in church and sit on the back row looking around thinking that everybody else has it together except for them. They become sporadic with church attendance because they feel like such a failure. They get into some kind of group hoping that group can help them do a better job with their Christian lives.
Let’s face reality for a minute. When you boil it all down, there are really only three options. 1. Try harder to be a good Christian. 2. Give up trying completely to be a good Christian. 3. Bounce back and forth between those two the rest of your life.
I’ve read many authors who have said that option 3 is the best it gets for anyone. They quote Romans 7:15 and proclaim that it’s the normal Christian life. “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” NLT If that’s the normal Christian life and the best it’s ever going to get for any of us, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a part of it! It may be the typical Christian life for most but I assure you, it’s not the normal Christian life that God intended.
The good news is that there is another option and it’s God’s best and only option. Want to know what it is? The normal Christian life is living every day loved by Christ in you and then relying on him to live through you. Please read over that slowly and let the words soak into you deeply.
Based on my upcoming book on October 3, “God’s Best-Kept Secret: Christianity Is Easier Than You Think”.
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