7 Things You Might Not Have Anticipated About Living the Christian Life

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by Stephen Mattson

Christianity comes with a lot of expectations. Some are biblical. Some, we’ve grafted on.

Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of what our lives will look like after accepting Christ into our lives. We think seasoned Christians have it all together, always feel close to God and never doubt.

But it doesn’t take long for those illusions to be shattered. We soon realize that following Christ doesn’t look exactly like we expected.

Here are 7 things I wish I knew about Christianity before becoming a Christian:

It’s Really Hard.

There’s a dangerous tendency to sugarcoat the Christian life and market it as an easy, joyous, successful and wonderful alternative to the “secular” existence.

The Christian faith will surely have its blissful moments, but much of it requires and demands service, sacrifice, dedication, humility, patience, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and work—the things that manifest Christ-like love. Not only is this not easy, but usually it’s extremely hard.

There’s a reason ministry leaders burnout at alarming rates, church attendance numbers decline, and friends seemingly abandon the faith—following Jesus is messy, grueling, uncomfortable and requires an extraordinary amount of time, energy, effort and grace.

Christianity is often perceived as an escape mechanism, a crutch, a way to easily avoid the harsh realities of life, but it’s the exact opposite—it’s a journey that embraces truth and confronts the world in brave, honest and often painfully difficult ways. Prepare yourself for not just the good, but also the bad—and especially the ugly.

It Doesn’t Fix Everything.

After hearing miraculous testimonies about people being healed, addictions overcome, lives transformed and being inundated with the Biblical stories of redemption, hope and reconciliation—expectations about Christianity can be pretty high.

Yes, God does amazing and unexplainable things, but eventually you’ll realize that Christianity won’t solve all your problems.

Sicknesses don’t aways go away. Broken relationships don’t always get better. Your income doesn’t improve. Simply put, troubles don’t just up and disappear. What happened?

The Christian faith is more about creating a relationship with God than finding a magic solution to all of life’s difficulties. Unfortunately, many still treat Christianity as a spiritual formula to get what they want. When the inevitable disappointment arrives, so do feelings of betrayal, cynicism, disappointment and anger. Many people abandon “Christianity” altogether because it didn’t meet their preconceived expectations—no matter how unrealistic or selfish they were.

You Won’t Have All the Answers.

The Gospel is often presented The Answer to all of life’s deepest questions, and it does give purpose and meaning to our existence, but Christianity doesn’t completely eradicate doubts, intellectual struggles and philosophical inquiries. In fact, it often brings up even more questions than answers.

Biblical content is debated by thousands of pastors, theologians and believers, and each doctrine is associated with hundreds of theories, ideas and traditions. If you’re looking for decisive, conclusive, and indisputable facts, Christianity will offer some, but ultimately, it’s about finding God—and once you find Him, the evidence will speak for itself.

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SOURCE: Relevant Magazine

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