If anyone has ever told you that it is easy to be a Christian – they are full of crap. Sorry if that term offends you, but that is how I feel about the subject.
I was a Christian long before I experienced adult baptism by full immersion in water. At that time, I was led to believe that 1) I was not a true Christian unless I was baptized, and 2) my life would change drastically, for the better, once I was baptized. I have found out that both these “doctrines” are incorrect.
In this post, I am not going to address the issue of water baptism, but rather, the issue that there is a thought process out there that once you become a Christian, your life will become sooooooo much better. While there is some truth to that idea, it is not a simple, all encompassing truth.
At the time that I decided to become baptized by full immersion, my life had been and was at that time, pretty stressful and unhappy. Although I had been a Christian for a number of years, I never felt that I was ever a “good enough” Christian. And because of that thought process, I thought that a lot of my personal problems and unhappiness was due to the fact that I wasn’t a “complete” Christian because I had not been baptized. I was led to believe that being baptized would “clench the deal” as it were. I was told that being baptized was a life-changing experience. Well, I wanted me some of that!
So I went into that baptismal tank with an earnest desire to wash away all the old, “faulty” me and to come up out of that water a new, glorious, radiant, powerful, happy, and miraculously changed me. Boy was I in for a HUGE disappointment. Not only did I not feel any different, but my life became MORE difficult following my baptism than before it!
I wanted answers and help so I started watching all kinds of TV ministries. Imagine how happy I was to find ones that taught that I don’t have to be sad, sick or poor. All I had to do was rebuke the issue and “name and claim” my miracle! Well, I tried that for years. Intense prayer, intense Bible study, intense speaking forth scriptures. Oh how I would love to say that all my miracles came through and that my life became wonderful – NOT!
I think that it is very wrong to teach people that life becomes so much easier once you are saved. I have not found that “doctrine” anywhere in the Bible. While Jesus did tell us to exchange our burdens for his, for they are light:
Mat 11:29, 30 Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
I don’t believe that Jesus was saying that we would never have another problem in our lives. In fact, he tells us that in this world, we WILL have troubles:
Joh 16:33 … In the world you have trouble…
He also warned that we have an enemy who goes about looking for people that he can destroy, one who shoots “fiery darts” at us and one whose mission it is to kill, to steal and to destroy. The enemy HATES the children of God and he is constantly at war with them.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Our enemy has painted a target on our back and he is constantly at work shooting “fiery darts” at us in hopes of taking us down.
Does this sound like an “easy-peasy” life to you??
In fact, we are told that as believers, we are not to be surprised that difficult things will happen to us in our lives.
1Pe 4:12 Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though a strange thing happened to you,
Not only that, we are told that going through difficult situations can bring about personal and spiritual growth.
Rom 5:3-5 And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.
When you read the accounts of the lives of the apostles – does it sound like their lives were ‘easy-peasy’? I think not! Just read what Paul has to say about some of his experiences:
2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as beside myself,) I am more! I have been in labors more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more, in deaths many times.
2Co 11:24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one.
2Co 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the deep.
2Co 11:26 I have been in travels often; in dangers from waters; in dangers from robbers; in dangers from my race; in dangers from the heathen; in dangers in the city; in dangers in the wilderness; in dangers on the sea; in dangers among false brothers.
2Co 11:27 I have been in hardship and toil; often in watchings; in hunger and thirst; often in fastings; in cold and nakedness;
2Co 11:28 besides the things outside conspiring against me daily, the care of all the churches.
Wow – I don’t think that Paul would ever describe a Christian’s life as ‘easy-peasy’. And you can be sure that he absolutely knew the Word of God and spent much time in prayer – yet he still endured all those hardships.
I have often heard it taught that we should be thankful for any and all difficulties that come our way. I believe that it is an erroneous (fancy word for incorrect) interpretation of Rom. 8:35-37.
Rom 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep of slaughter.” But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us.
Pay close attention to that last sentence. Does it say “for all these things” or “in all these things”? God’s Word doesn’t tell us to be thankful for difficult circumstances but rather that we can be thankful in difficult circumstances – why? – because when we are a believer of Jesus Christ, we are more than conquerors in those situations because we have Christ “The Conqueror” in us. We have God in Christ in us and they will help us through those difficult times.
I want to make it perfectly clear that I do believe that miracles are available and that they do occur. That is where hope comes into the picture – never give up hope. But I no longer believe that because I am a Christian my life will be all chocolate and flowers. I do believe that God, through Jesus, will strengthen me during the difficult times and help me to get through them. My hard times are made easier and I have hope because I know that God loves me, that He wants me to have victory in those areas and that Jesus is my ‘over-comer’.
Joh 16:33 I have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world.
So when you go through trials and tribulations – and you will go through some – have hope and peace in remembering that you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ!
Psa 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear when the earth changes, and when mountains are slipping into the heart of the seas. Let its waters roar and foam; let the mountains shake with the swelling of it. Selah.