Two lies you might believe when the spiritual high ends
I’ll never forget the feeling.
The weight of all the doubt, sin, anxiety, and fear lifted off my shoulders. The moment I decided to follow Jesus, things began to change and I sensed God’s salvation. I don’t remember what the preacher taught on, and I have no idea what the worship leader was singing. But I remember experiencing the most freedom and love I had ever felt in my life.
But it didn’t stay that way.
Two Lies New Christians Believe When a Spiritual High Becomes an All-Time Low
1. “It didn’t really happen."
I left that worship service feeling on top of the world and ready to take on anything, but a week later I felt like a failure. The enemy crept in and fed me lie after lie until I was unsure of what I had even experienced at that worship service.
The curse words I used around my friends still slipped out, and the music I said I wouldn’t listen to was still on my iPod. I still looked at people with judgment instead of love. I would ask myself, “What am I doing wrong? Shouldn’t have I shared with my friends about Jesus by now? How can I be a real Christian if I can’t stop doing the things that make me just like my non-Christian friends?”
2. “People are going to think I’m crazy.”
After coming to know Jesus and trying to become more like Him, I began to change. But my friends didn’t. Many of them went to church and even claimed to be believers, but they didn’t reflect Jesus in their actions. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to talk about my faith and risk losing some of my friends, or if I wanted to keep all of this Jesus stuff to myself.
Christians on TV were weird and many times hateful toward non-believers, and I was so afraid of being associated with them. I didn’t want my friends to become afraid of me shoving Scripture down their throats. I’ve been a believer for more than nine years, and I still struggle with this.
But what I remind myself is that love always wins. Instead of aggressively trying to prove God exists and telling people they are wrong, we have to listen. We even have to show people love despite what they think about our faith. Then they will be able to see how God really has changed us. Loving people like God loves people is a lot more effective than yelling and screaming.
Christianity is not about simply obeying a set of rules; it’s about growing in a relationship with God.
Three Things I Gradually Learned While Following Jesus
1. We are all sinners, and we will struggle against sin until we die.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It doesn’t matter if we pray every 5 minutes or every month. We are all equally undeserving of the grace God has given us. It’s the best kind of gift — a gift that sets us free from our natural inclination to sin and resist God. And there’s nothing we can do to earn it.
2. We have the privilege of obeying God with our actions.
We won’t do this perfectly, but we are commanded in the Bible to model ourselves after Jesus and try to be more like Him everyday. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” When we choose to listen to Jesus and do what He says, and not just doing what is “right” instead of wrong, He changes our heart. It’s not about simply obeying a set of rules; it’s about growing in a relationship with God.
3. Just because we started a new direction with Jesus doesn’t mean we need to let our old friends go.
When I first became a Christian I even wondered if I should ditch my friends for some new “holier” folks, so I wouldn’t have to deal with what people would think about me living out my faith.
But the truth is, Jesus hung out with a lot of messed up people. In fact, that is what He was known for. He hung out with the drunkards, the prostitutes, the poor, and even people who didn’t believe He was the Son of God. In Mark 2:15-17, Jesus says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Yet the Bible also reminds us, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5).
Following Jesus is hard. Our human, sinful nature pushes against love and puts fear into our hearts. But trusting in the Lord and choosing to keep moving forward with Him trumps it all.