“It feels totally natural to be a Christian”. Said No One Ever. If I’m being honest, living in my human skin, being a “good” Christian does not come naturally to me.
What does come naturally to me is getting really mad when someone cuts me off in traffic or wanting to point out to someone who doesn’t seem to notice the “10 items or less” sign when they have 25 items in their basket and I have 3, plus a screaming toddler who is overtired and HANGRY. Clearly I fight my primitive brain regularly to keep my lips shut in such a situation, and it’s a battle I don’t always win.
🎶 That’s the price you pay…
Leave behind your heartache, cast away
Just another product of today
Rather be the hunter than the prey🎶
The human condition. That’s what comes natural to us because that’s who we are. It’s the part of you that just said “Duh!” In your head. 😆 There are simple truths we try to deny like this though. We stop viewing ourselves as moral creatures and view ourselves instead as animals, acting on our desires, we use this as a justification for our actions. “I can’t stop myself from doing it. It’s in my DNA. It’s who I am.”
Or maybe you feel like society has done it to you. I’ve been there. I definitely got to the point in my life where I became very cynical. Disillusioned. Being a person who DIDN’T guard my heart, I started to justify why it would just be easier to be like everyone else.
🎶You’re a Natural
A beating heart of stone
You gotta be so cold
To make it in this world
Yeah, you’re a natural
Living your life cutthroat… 🎶
You know, it’s that “armoring up” concept, but sadly I wasn’t using the full armor of God, I was just building up a thick wall of protection for my own benefit. I began believing that being a machine would make my life easier. But it came at the expense of my authenticity.
God didn’t design me to have a heart of stone. He didn’t choose me so my life could be easy. So there I was, faced with a conundrum. Being fake really did feel like selling out. But being real was so exhausting.
Of course my natural human response to God’s call for me to return to the heart He gave me was, “I can’t do it God. It’s just too hard and painful”
I wasn’t quite prepared for his response. It was a simple, “You don’t have to do it alone”.
Not of this world. Ever heard that terminology? It’s the idea that as Christians we have to choose to act differently. But our culture screams, “What fun is that? You only live once!”
So if it’s not natural to act like Jesus Christ WHY do people want to be Christians? I mean if you find you’re a natural at shooting hoops you may join the basketball team, right?
But Christianity isn’t a club people join because they are good at it. You can’t “act” like Jesus. In fact, from my perspective, I decided to follow Christ after using everything else I thought I was good at that would work on my own effort and I came up empty. Emotionally, physically, financially EMPTY.
The reality of salvation is transformational, but it doesn’t happen over night. Being a Christian literally means to be a person who is Christ-like, but the process referred to as “dying to self” is what gets you there.
I almost used another song title for this article. I was driving down the road the other day and saw a car with a bunch of different bumper stickers on it, one of which said “Only the Good Die Young”. Classic Billy Joel. It hit me that it’s possible that not only does acting like a Christian seem unnatural, it also doesn’t sound like much fun to many people out there.
I mean I could spend my life putting others needs before mine, Or I could just live my life the way I want to live it, satisfying my every thought and desire.
Flashback to my life before Christ. That’s exactly what I was doing. I had the list many of us have that says “When I have THIS, THIS and THIS”, then I’ll be happy, life will be good. I will have ARRIVED.
It’s so funny for me now to look back at that version of myself and chuckle a little at how misguided I was. I’d been drinking the proverbial koolaid that our culture will sell you about what happiness looks like. The right relationship, status, money, that car and house you always wanted. A couple kids. Fantastic vacations.
I chuckle because the place that I said would represent the notion that I “had arrived” still didn’t fill that void. And I was ANGRY about it. Honestly I got to a very desperate point. I thought I deserved all that stuff but in reality, I was making it my God. And at the end of the day I had all that cool stuff, accomplishments, and still a HUGE GAPING HOLE.
That’s not surprising to me now but at the time I was like “what am I doing wrong?!” The problem is I was asking the wrong question. Being the girl that wanted to do everything on her own strength I was not only EMPTY but also EXHAUSTED. God let me know in ways only He can that it’s not going to work like that. Sadly, God had to show me that other people are going to fail me, often when I think I need them most but HE never will.
Now, I’m looking forward to a day where it’s a little more natural for me. It’s definitely getting easier.
I think about how even God’s chosen people had to have that desert experience for 40 years before they were ready to enter the promised land.
Honestly, I experienced the same kind of “wandering through the desert” trying to figure things out, and I had days when the path didn’t seem clear. It might have been right in front of me, but it wasn’t illuminated. Something like this photo. I just had to learn to trust God one step at a time.
There’s also the part of me that realizes it’s not an act. You can’t act like a “good” Christian. Putting on a show for others is addressed in this verse. BTW if scripture is hard to understand check out the MSG translation it makes sense to just about anyone:
So maybe you can’t fake it, but there’s a saying I heard that I really like: FAITH it til you make it!
Having served in the United States Air Force, it’s also about a code I live by, not by judging others but by feeling good at the end of the day because I’m not perfect, but I’m striving every day to live for something that’s bigger than me. To leave a legacy of Faith for my children and generations to come.
Reminds me of these lyrics at the beginning of the song:
🎶Will you hold the line?
When every one of them is giving up or giving in, tell me
In this house of mine?
Nothing ever comes without a consequence or cost, tell me
Will the stars align?
Will heaven step in? Will it save us from our sin? Will it?
‘Cause this house of mine stands strong🎶
If you are curious about my blog and what that stands for, you can read about that here.