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I have a confession to make. It’s not easy to say this, but I feel like it must be said, and I don’t think I’m the only one with this issue. You see, I don’t always feel like I’m Christian enough. Crazy, right?
If anyone should know how to be Christian enough, it would be me. I grew up in a Baptist church, and attended a private Christian school. I practically lived at church the first 21 years of my life. I could recite Psalm 23 when I was five, and made sure to tell everyone (the old man at the grocery store and even the Mormon neighbors) that they needed Jesus in their lives.
Regardless of my upbringing, I can think of several reasons why I don’t feel Christian enough:
- I rarely volunteer at church
- My family doesn’t spend the holidays serving meals to the homeless
- Praying out loud makes me nervous
- I’m too busy to participate in a women’s small group
And then there are those reasons I rather not talk about:
- I don’t always make the right decisions
- I have told little white lies (which, by the way, are still lies)
- I sometimes lose my patience with my husband and children
- I forget to seek God first
Put me in a room with other Christians, and I’m likely to feel like an outsider. The times I feel like I can truly be myself are usually when:
- I’m alone with Jesus
- I’m around non-Christians
To be honest, I don’t fit in well in most Christian settings, and it’s not because I’m not Christian enough. If I feel this way, it makes me wonder how others feel, especially those that haven’t made the decision to follow Jesus.
Christians Need To And Can Do Better!
The world needs to KNOW that Christianity is not an exclusive club for people that have it all together. I’ve got news for you – none of us have it all together!
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12 NIV
The world needs to know:
- Being a Christian doesn’t mean they’re any better than those that are not.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12 NIV
- The only thing that makes a Christian different is a decision they made to follow Jesus.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8 NLT
- The reason why Christians are always talking about Jesus is because they know how amazing and life changing it is to have a relationship with him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
The issue in many Christian settings, such as church, is that people are preoccupied with trying to fit into a specific mold. They’re obsessed with pleasing people, rather than being authentic and vulnerable, allowing them to grow in their relationship with God. Rather than concern themselves with who they are in Christ, they worry about how others view them.
As Christians, we should no longer conform to the ways of man, whether in the church or in the world.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV
3 Reasons Why You May Not Feel Like You’re Christian Enough
- You’re Trying to Please Others
If you’re always striving to fit in, you may find yourself quickly frustrated. Growing up in a Baptist church, I was regularly exposed to what is called “legalism” – essentially, man’s rules, not God’s, determine your spirituality. When you set your eyes on God, though, you don’t need to worry about following legalistic rules. Remember, we’re all lost, broken people that are trying to find our way, but the only thing we need to do is obey and trust God by following Jesus Christ. (Psalm 27:4; Luke 10:42)
According to the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus didn’t fit into their mold, either; he didn’t conform to the patterns of the religious world of his time. He performed miracles on the Sabbath, he turned over tables in the temple, and he associated himself with sinners. The Pharisees were quick to judge Jesus and completely overlooked that he was the anticipated Messiah. They chose their religious traditions over relationship.
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8 NIV
Don’t let yourself get consumed by trying to be Christian enough for other people. Instead put your focus on your relationship with God.
- You’re Putting Your Efforts in the Wrong Place
It’s easy to get caught up in outward appearances and good deeds. And while neither are necessarily wrong in and of themselves, you must understand that God cares most about what’s on the inside – your heart.
When God told Samuel to go find the man that would be Israel’s new king, Samuel was surprised when God turned down Jesse’s tallest, fittest, and most handsome sons, and instead pointed him to Jesse’s youngest son, David, a shepherd boy. (1 Samuel 16:1-13)
“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
One thing separated David from all the rest – his relationship with God. As you read about David, you’ll see that through various challenges, even as he was running for his life, he would turn to God, in praise and worship. It’s not that David was perfect or always made the right choices, but he always circled back to God.
Likewise, we must turn our hearts to God, and seek him first in all that we do, and God will take care of details. (Matthew 6:33)
- You’re Listening To the Wrong Voices
Sometimes we hold ourselves back because of all the voices coming at us from all different directions. Often, the strongest voice tends to be the one in my head – my own voice. Whether it’s telling me I’m not good enough, or it’s reminding me of my sinful past, and how I need to work harder. This voice is not from God.
Another voice that tries to lead us astray belongs to the enemy. The enemy is crafty, and wants nothing more but to distract us from our relationship with God.
I cannot allow these voices to take up residence in my heart. The only voice I should listen to is God’s.
If you also struggle with discerning the voices, compare them to the voice of God in the Bible. When you’re not quite sure what to do, follow the advice in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)
The feeling of not being “Christian enough” comes in a variety of ways, but none of it comes from the Bible. There is no such thing as being “christian enough.” You are either a Christian (follower of Christ) or not.
What does it mean to be Christian?
A Christian is someone who has decided to follow Jesus Christ. Anyone can be a Christian. This is a club that specializes in welcoming the most broken of the broken, the weakest of the weak. To join, all you have to do is ask. It is a free gift for anyone who will receive it.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 NIV
You don’t have to be a perfect person to decide to follow Jesus. Some of the first followers of Jesus were far from perfect, but Jesus came to seek and save the lost, the imperfect, the sinner. (Luke 19:10)
There’s nothing you can do that can keep you out of this club – except not join and that part is up to you. As C.S. Lewis said, “Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
Making the decision to follow Jesus is the most crucial decision you will ever make. As a Christ-follower, you have some essential responsibilities, such as:
- Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37)
- Love others as you love yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
- Tell others about Jesus. (Mark 16:15)
You may feel like you’re not qualified to be a Christian unless you’re perfect. But the Apostle Paul made it very clear that we are all a work in progress.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 BSB
As you seek God in your life, and get to know Him, you will grow, and your life will change for the better. You will be filled with his love, joy and peace. Galatians 5 paints a picture of what we gain when we decide to follow Jesus.
There are going to be moments in your life that you don’t feel Christian enough, but don’t believe that lie. Instead, search your heart and the scriptures, and cry out to God and the truth will reveal itself to you.
When you aren’t feeling Christian enough:
- Speak truth to your soul through reading the Bible.
- Spend time with God in prayer.
- Keep following Christ the way you know you are called to do.
We are all together in this broken world, born with a sin nature, and in need of a savior. Choose to follow Christ every single day, and ignore the voices that tell you you’re not good enough. Remember, Jesus is for everyone!
Article first released on iBelieve.com on March 10, 2022. Check it out here: https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/am-i-christian-enough.html