Being a Professed Christian Is Not For the Faint of Heart

Are you ready to profess your faith? Then understand that it means that your life is no longer yours. You have a Lord, and you are supposed to submit to Him. The good thing is that this Lord is not like any Earthly king. He is immortal, infallible, & just, the definition of hope, grace, and love. But still, you have to make the choice to submit to His will, daily, which is not easy.

Secondly, you have to go on this endless journey to become more Christlike. Why would anyone knowingly choose such a long, arduous, humiliating, trying path? In Chapter four of my memoir/self-help book, I shared about my conversion event which occurred during my sophomore year in college. The truth is that when I first surrendered my will to that of childlike faith, I had little idea of the whole new world I was entering. In my unbelieving mindset, I figured that Christian faith was about doing the good and right things, but with the additional support of a best friend (in Jesus) by my side. It turned out that I was only partly right. The rest, about the painful, humbling sanctification process, dawned on me later as it dawned on me later. There’s no way of knowing what it means to be a Christ follower ahead of time, to fully grasp the wisdom and majesty of the Trinity God. That’s because believers are lead each step of the way but only one step at a time.

Thirdly, it means that you will be both fully equipped and always needy. When you are indwelled with the Holy Spirit, which is your power cord to God the Father and God the Son, you have all the vision, strength, and direction you need. The only problem is that the Holy Spirit is always about God’s glory, not about ours. So, we become equipped as we ask in earnest prayer, as we study God through the Scriptures, as we fellowship with the rest of the body of Christ, often under the pastoral care of human shepherds.

The Holy Spirit only shines in us and through us for moments at a time, always to reflect God’s majesty, as we faithfully care for God’s people and make disciples of Christ. It’s not about our knowledge, character, or might, but about Him. We are useful only to the extent that we decrease, and God increases in us. We are a weakened vessel, a broken jar of clay, an unfinished masterpiece, a child of God who is freed from fears to the extent that we completely depend on Abba Father to shine his light on us.

Finally, being a Christian means that we have to live in this world, but we are not of this world. We are spiritual creatures made in God’s image. The Earthly mothers and fathers He gave us may not be as wonderful and inspirational as we imagined parents are supposed to be. Our growing up experiences may be too painful or traumatic to believe in a good, loving God. We might even find relationships in adult society to be less than satisfying, riddled with conflicts and frustrations. Our only solace is the fact that we were not made to pursue successful lives in this world. The Bible tells us that despite being set apart for God for a wonderful dwelling place later, we will have troubles in this life. That’s because we have the consequences of the fall, would continue to be stricken by our flesh, deceived and tempted by the ruler of this world, aka the Accuser, until Christ returns.

No, the life of a professed Christian is not for the faint of heart. Because to be Christlike, we must also be ready for the persecution that befell Him. Jesus—the most significant whistle-blower, truth teller, Pharisee confronter, woman honorer, forgiver of our sins, child nurturer, compassionate social worker, wonderful counselor, and inspirational leader, was himself scorned, rejected, and killed. To follow in His footsteps means that we can expect to be ridiculed, mocked, laughed at, excluded, and minimized for our beliefs. In other parts of the world, where freedom of religion is not a reality, Christians face grave dangers like imprisonment and execution for practicing their faith. I’m thankful that we have not come to that in America, and yet our world views can still be shaken to the core, challenged from outside and within the body of Christ. Hope in this omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator will seem incredible. Families will be divided. Innocent children will be sexualized and sacrificed. All that is left will be an intimate relationship with our Creator, sweetened by the communal prayers of some fellow sojourners.

Are you still sure that He is the Christ?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Fallulah

    Oh please. Ya it must be SO difficult living as a Christian in a majority Christian country.

  • james warren

    “Christ” is a theological term given to Jesus decades after his crucifixion. Jesus of Nazareth is who today’s Christians need to focus on.

    Let Jesus speak for himself. Christianity has become a religion Jesus would have rejected.

  • Mike Panic

    Your “religion” is a totalitarian dictatorship where god watches and judges your thoughts, your words, your deeds. Yes, even your dreams. Submit constantly the control of the totalitarian dictator.

  • deb

    That’s because it wasn’t about him. Paul created the religion to be about right belief, nothing else.

  • ravitchn

    Is it really hard to be a Christian? Evangelicals and others like to pretend it is; it makes them seem heroic. But in fact being a Christian is easy. All you need is fear of the unknown and a desire for a special heavenly friend to comfort you and assure you of salvation. In other words, all you need is to like fairy tales, like a small child.

  • ravitchn

    Absolutely true. Paul invented the whole miserable religion.

  • Get it

    Please read or read again this piece before commenting, then ask yourself this question
    Am I a professed Christian?
    Why do you all sound cynical, captious, and yes…. soooo angry?

  • james warren

    Jesus was pointing to something important. But Christianity got hung up on looking and meditating on his pointing finger.
    I disagree with you a little [with the full knowledge of “How the hell do I know I am absolutely right””] about Paul.

    I think the authentic letters were instructions for different early Christian gatherings, giving them admonishments and tips on problem-solving their difficulties. Paul was both a theologian and a mystic–based on his new myths and metaphors about Jesus as well as his epiphany of the spirit when he heard the voice of Jesus on the road to Damascus.

    But like I said, I have no way to know or even prove I am absolutely right,

  • james warren

    I think Paul extended its boundaries as well.

  • Ed Senter

    Who is the Christ?
    What do you mean by “Christlike” and what is this “humbling sanctification process”?
    I think most of the disagreements in Christendom revolve around these questions.

    It is a totally different issue about persecution. Persecution concerns Jesus divinity.

  • ravitchn

    Extended its boundaries? He made it an anti-Jewish cult.

  • Get it

    Who is the Christ? Time and space may not permit, but I highly recommend that you read the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible, with an open mind.
    Your follow up questions will be answered.
    Sanctification is a life long process of becoming like Christ, the messiah (savior) after you have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. All things becoming new and old things passing away. You’re actually released from slavery to sins of the flesh. True freedom arrives. He changes not only what you do but what you will to do.
    “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32

  • JA Myer

    You really think you have it tough being a Christian in America? You feel persecuted? Please try being a Muslim, or a Sikh or just about any other faith in America and you will quickly understand what being persecuted really means.

  • Ed Senter

    “Who is the Christ?” was my response to the blogger’s strange question, “Are you still sure that He is the Christ?”

    I have read the Gospel of John and I believe the statement in chapter 1 sets the tone for the entire book- “He came to His own and His own received Him not.”
    Why did they (his fellow Jews) not receive him? The answer, of course, was they accused Jesus of being a blasphemer. John’s task was proving that Jesus indeed was God in the flesh. So is becoming “Christlike” becoming God? I think not.
    Seems to me that “accepting” Jesus then shaping our behavior to conform to some standard is an erroneous concept of particular traditions. “You make void the Word of God by your traditions.”
    Persecution will not come from the world, for the world is already lost. No, persecution will come from those whom we are suppose to be like.

  • Glad2BGodless

    The following states have provisions in their constitutions against atheists holding public office: Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

    Which states have constitutional provisions against Christians holding public office?

  • Thanks for bringing that point up. There is bias, prejudice, and discrimination apparently in every direction possible because different people groups each have their distinct set of fears. That said, I found this info:
    “Federal law supercedes state law, which means atheists can hold office anywhere in the US. This is not a problem.”

  • Glad2BGodless

    Right — the state constitutions are subordinate to the federal Constitution. That’s the only reason these provisions are unenforceable. However, those states don’t feel any urgency about removing those laws from their charters. Would that be acceptable to you if it was Christians who were expressly banned from office?

    If bias, prejudice, and discrimination is found in equal measure in every possible direction, where are the states which expressly prohibit Christians from holding public office?

    (Edit to fix typo.)

  • BlackMamba44
  • BlackMamba44
  • BlackMamba44
  • Glad2BGodless

    I have read the piece twice. I am not a Christian, but I was a Christian for years. Even when I was a Christian, though, I never related to this self-image some Christians have, in which they see themselves as a persecuted minority in the United States. It just seems bizarre to me, and completely out of line with the status Christians enjoy as a powerful majority.

  • Glad2BGodless

    On a separate matter — you write in this article that we, “are not made to pursue successful lives in this world.”

    To my thinking, that is a troubling starting place for a person who hangs out their shingle as a therapist. Do you honestly believe that your clients should not pursue successful lives?

  • I should have clarified– worldly success as in fame, power, and wealth. Certainly good physical and mental health and healthy relationships are wonderful things to desire and pursue, and I all for that type of success. However, physical and mental illness may still befall the most godly and sincere among us.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Shouldn’t your client be the one who sets the goal? If you had a client whose social anxiety was blocking her career success, wouldn’t you make every effort to help her with that?

  • Of course. Client determination or no clients to work with =) . God bless.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Thank you for your reply. Do you agree that tension exists between two of your statements?

  • Glad2BGodless

    Let me try putting it another way: suppose eight states went out of their way to specifically prohibit men and women of color from holding public office, but those provisions were unenforceable because of protection extended at the federal level.

    Would you see no problem with that? Would it be OK?

  • Sounds problematic. Seems not ok. God bless.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Thank you! I appreciate your willingness to consider another perspective.

    This is why several people here have pushed back against the point of your blog post.

    When Christians claim to be persecuted, especially in the United States, where they actually are a powerful majority, it kind of grates on our ears. It sounds something like a rich white man complaining about how hard he has it in America today.

  • Get it

    A Christian (Christ Follower) is one who has acknowledged his/her sins, sincerely repented and surrendered his/her life to Jesus Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Savior forsaking the old life and all things becoming new in Christ, receiving His imputed righteousness through faith in His person and works, the end result being Salvation.
    If you truly have it, you never lose it and if you lose it, you never had it.
    “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day” John 6:37-39
    May God reveal to you the light of the knowledge of His Glory in Christ Jesus, Amen

  • Glad2BGodless

    I can see why you might like to think that’s true. It would be reassuring to you, to imagine there is an essential difference between your Christianity and what I had. But what’s your evidence?

  • Get it

    Forgive me for being presumptuous.
    I take my definition of Christianity from the scriptures and what Christ says it should be, a relationship with Him and not necessarily a religion. If you have in the past be saved by grace through faith in Christ and you happen to fall away or Christianity failed you, for one reason or another; the same grace is still and will be available for you as long as you live and will bring you back.
    All those the Father has given him will never be lost.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Thank you for your reply.

    My experience has been that it doesn’t move a conversation very far forward when we try to parse the differing definitions of “Christian.” No matter what definition we agree upon, there will be many others who define it differently. Often, those differences are significant, and Christianity has no central authority to whom we can appeal to resolve such disagreements.

    You see yourself as a Christian, and I see no problem accepting your self-identification.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Patheos itself is owned by BN Media, a conservative evangelical media corporation. It’s ironic to see a blog on an evangelical-owned website opine that evangelicals just can’t get a break.

  • Get it

    What is or was your definition of Christianity and what about it failed you to turn your back on it.

  • Glad2BGodless

    The Webster’s dictionary definition works well enough for me, but I don’t have a strong opinion about it. I do recognize that there are a lot of definitions that different people use, and there’s no central office that can anoint one or elevate it over the others.

    I don’t feel uniquely failed by Christianity. I don’t believe any gods exist.

  • Get it

    You don’t believe now, but as you said, you used to be a Christian, till you disbelieved.
    Christianity came about before the Webster Dictionary.

    I see you a little more clearly now.

    Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, (in) Christ Alone, (through) Grace Alone, To The Glory Of God Alone.
    Amen.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Correct — I was a Christian for years.

    Indeed! The earliest recorded use of the term “Christian” is found in the 11th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus himself is not known to have used it, and there are scholars who believe it began as a pejorative.

  • DDRLSGC

    Try to be a professed labor union activist in America. Labor union activists have been beaten, killed and/or been blacklisted in America and in the country of Columbia, that country has the highest number of union leaders killed in the world in that country.