“If Christianity makes you feel good, if it works for you, great. I respect that. I’d never try to change your views about something that’s so helpful for you.”
Ever heard those words? I have, many times. The words of the “respectful tolerant.” You wanna know a secret?
I find the words a little insulting. Though not at all the intent of the speaker, I hear an underlying message: “You are so simple-minded as to have embraced a belief system simply because it makes you feel good, and not because you can prove it to be true.”
Never mind that thousands upon thousands of us have applied reason to our faith and can articulate why we believe there is overwhelming evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and have taken the responsibility to consider its personal implications. It is no compliment to be thought of as “sincere” if it means I am “sincerely misguided” or “delusional.”
Besides, this is hardly a feel-good religion. God requires I eradicate any hidden wrong attitude toward others, forgive people who hurt me, and allow myself to be continually misunderstood and misjudged. He insists I hand over my long-held dreams for my future, in the event they might conflict with His. He leaves me with no other option in life but to give and serve without complaint, but calls me out when I try to do those in my own strength, to my own credit or for the wrong motives. I’ve endured seasons of poverty, social and cultural loneliness, and feelings of rejection and abandonment as a direct result of answering the call of God on my life.
I could go on and on, but to be sure, following the once homeless Man who died alone on a cross is not always a picnic. Christianity is far from being a “crutch”; it is, in part, a process of the self-will being broken.
Consider this sobering verse:
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” –Luke 14:33
Last I checked, “all” meant “all.” This isn’t necessarily a call to literally walk away from everything, but to do so in heart. And that’s not even the severest of scriptures on sacrifice; others speak of laying down one’s very life, and denying one’s self.
I wrestle with this at times. There’s so much I hold with a tight fist: expectations of people who should know better. Personal goals and ambitions. My reputation. Stuff I want but can’t afford. The list goes on.
I would not recommend Christianity if you don’t like disappointment, loneliness, loss, lack, perplexity, unanswered questions, persecution, and frustration with those who call themselves Jesus’ followers but grossly misrepresent Him. (And if you really want a reason to not to be a Christian, look to the places of the world where professing such a faith gets you imprisoned, tortured and executed.)
However, if being a Christian means the lonely or difficult seasons drive me into God’s arms where, through silent waiting I feel His transforming presence and emerge changed, I’m all in.
If it means a good God has my best interest at heart and is always, 100% for me when everyone else, including myself, is against me, sign me up.
If it means God is wildly, crazily in love with Me in my worst moments, I’ll lift a Communion cup to that.
If being a Christian means intimately knowing The Christ of Christianity enough to be fully satisfied in Him, I’ll be one. If daily time spent in prayer and scripture meditation coupled with doing only what God says to do gives way to true and lasting fulfillment in life, I want it. If relating to a Personal God means discovering who I really am and what it means to be completely loved, call me a fool; still, I will follow this Christ.
I am convinced every single day that the only Person Who can help me be successfully human is Jesus Christ, at work in me through His Spirit. It gives me a deep-settled peace that will be only surpassed by tomorrow’s eternal reward. And that is another reason I can recommend Christianity.
“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” ― C.S. Lewis.