Am I Still A Christian?
There’s this belief that once you sign up to be a Christian you have to be absolutely perfect. On the flip side, there’s a belief that once you become a Christian you really don’t have to obey any of the laws because God is going to forgive you anyway.
I went to bible study last night and Barry Ginn mentioned something that I’ve been thinking about all day: tension. In the bible there is so much tension. For instance, his example that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man. He also mentioned, though, that tension is not bad.
Being Christian, in itself, is a tension. We are sinners and yet we are counted as righteous and perfect because of Jesus Christ. But don’t let this contradiction of spirit and flesh discourage your walk.
Moments ago, I found myself curled up in bed, my emotional energy drained. Nothing in particular happened today to drain me emotionally. But sometimes you just don’t feel good. But let me tell you guys about one of the biggest tensions in being a Christian — joy.
I know it’s there inside me, I know I have access to it, and yet I feel sad still. “Jesus,” we often wonder, “if your joy is eternal then why am I so sad? Why do I get angry at my kids when they jump around like idiots? Why is Ms. Bettyworth, that old lady at church, such a grouch even though she sits on the front row every Sunday during all three services?”
Notice that Jesus being man has nothing to do with Him being God(though the fact that He was perfect does), God’s love for us has nothing to do with whether or not we sin nor even if we ask Him for forgiveness, and joy has nothing to do with what we feel. Joy is not a feeling, joy is a choice. It is a state of being thankful. Philippians 4:4 says “Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I will say rejoice.” I love the way the Living Bible puts it. It says “Always be full of joy in the Lord…”
Joy is not about what you feel, but about what God has done for you. So in times like these, when all I want to do is curl into a ball and lie in bed basking in the stench of defeat and unfulfilled purpose, I can get up push forth because I know that I have joy. It may not feel good, and it may be hard to persevere, but I will choose to let joy prevail above my feelings of emptiness and sorrow. This isn’t to say that your feelings aren’t valid. It’s okay to be sad or upset. Afterall, we are still human.
Being Christian doesn’t mean that you won’t experience negative feelings, and experiencing negative feelings doesn’t mean you aren’t Christian.
I still have joy, and I’m still a Christian.
The same goes for you, dear friend.