Recently, I did a speaking engagement in which I spoke on the Christian walk. Please hear me, it was meant for all –both you and I. The main premise of the discussion was what occurs on the Christian walk (e.g., family tragedy, job loss, financial problems, addictions) can sometimes have folks wondering, “Does Christianity really work?” Within the topic introduction, I attempted to lay out the crossroads that Christians will reach –resist and turn back or continue on with Jesus.
Here is a little excerpt from that speech:
… let me state the first truth about Christians in general. No matter how long you have been a Christian, you can remain in the very early stages of your faith for a long time, can you not? What I mean by that is we initially have high expectations for dramatic life change. We have mustered up enough courage to let go of our past sins and have experienced the taste of freedom that comes from being saved. But then we realize, we have no earthly idea what we just walked into or what exactly to do next.
The second truth –At that point, one of two things will happen to a majority of us:
1. Some of us will blossom for a while. We’ll dig into our church and our faith, and life is relatively good. We’ll say to ourselves: “This Jesus thing isn’t so hard. I’ve got this.” Then life turns on us, and we stand shell-shocked that our new-found fortune has come to a screeching halt.
2. Others of us won’t get a day passed our new-found hope, the hope experienced in that moment of decision when we trusted for the first time, before it is dramatically stolen away from us, and we decide: “This Christianity thing might not work after all.”
In either situation, right then and there, in that moment of discomfort, when the walls start to close in, some Christians will lose ground for a little while, but some Christians will walk away from the faith.
These are the people I want to reach; these are the people who need to hear my story and yours. Why? Because as exhilarating as it is to help people cross the line of faith and become a Christian, it is equally important to help people learn how to walk out the Christian life. They need to know Christianity works. We are losing too many people in the church because the Christian walk is not the fun-filled fantasy they thought it would be. They need to know that beyond a shadow of a doubt God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. …
We really shouldn’t be surprised that this is happening in our day and time. Paul battled the same issue when dealing with members of the new Church. However, he was equally surprised, probably because Paul knew firsthand the goodness of God and couldn’t imagine anyone not falling absolutely in love with the Savior. After all, he had quite a story to tell. Galatians 1:6-7 NLT states:
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
Paul could see that when the chips were down, some were turning to an ‘easier’ truth. Perhaps one that didn’t make them feel so convicted. In honesty, there were times during my talk I thought to myself, “Wonder what they are thinking? Would this challenge to Christians, new and old, to stand their ground when times got tough be received in the intent it was meant? -for edification not condemnation.” But, Paul makes no bones about where our faith should be planted, and what should happen to those who lead us astray:
Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Galatians 1:8-9 NLT
There is a lot we can learn from Paul about boldness, truth in love, and loyalty to Christ regardless of the consequences. His manner was indeed unapologetic. Toward the end of the evening, I knew in my heart I had done the right thing -put what God had placed in my heart out there for all to examine. When I was done, I stepped back and let the chips fall where they may. And in the end, I would agree with Paul’s sentiment:
God really doesn’t need us to defend Him. All He asks is that we put the Goods New out there so the nonbeliever can hear it and the believer can be encouraged by it. How it is received is not our concern. That takes a load off our shoulders!
This week, speak out for Christianity and Christian principles in love and help those who are struggling with their faith walk a little further. In the end, everyone has to make their own choice -give up and reverse course or walk the walk! Which will you choose today?
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Christian Walk. Speech given at Suffolk Christian Church, April 19, 2015. © 2015 Elaine A. Lankford