What is the Hardest Thing About Being a Christian?

Being a Christian is tough work. I know Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I know he said that we should come to him and find rest. But then he tells us that once we get there we have a cross to take up and follow him. How do the two jive with each other? Crosses sound like a lot of work and taking it up certainly does not sound like rest. There is a real tension in our Christian walk between the blessings we are promised and the responsiblities that are placed on us. We are promised rest, joy, hope, peace, wholeness, and “all these things being added as well.” We also have talk in scripture about trials, persecutions, crosses, and dying to self.

How do you put these two sides on the same coin? What do you think is the hardest part about being a Christian? Dying to self? Mutual submission? Daily walking by the Spirit and in the light? What has helped you mature through the difficulties of your Christian walk?

13 Responses to What is the Hardest Thing About Being a Christian?

  1. Mark says:

    To be brutally honest, the hardest part of my Christian walk has been learning to accept forgiveness. Having been raised in a Christian family with a good history, educated in prominent Christian schools, and working in ministry, I am absolutely without excuse for anything wrong I’ve ever done. I’ve had some struggles that have continued for a long time. When I’ve tried to repent of what is wrong about me, then I sin again, I find it really hard to believe that grace is still possible. Intellectually I believe it, but my conscience seems to disagree. So carrying a burden of guilt is something that I tend to struggle with. I can’t say I’ve “matured” past it yet. I find it easy for God to have mercy as long as it’s on someone other than me.

  2. Brian says:

    denying self…
    for a while, sure, but consistently, it’s tough

    second place: other christians, if not for all those people at church, being a Christian might be a lot easier

  3. preacherman says:

    Matt,
    Wonderful post and questions that really need to be asked of Christians. It was surrender for me. It wasn’t unitl I was hanging on to my life that I totally surrended everything and I mean everything over to God. I surrendered my life completely, my family, my finances, my possesssions, and my ministry over to his will. I told God that night that I almost died that I will surrender all. Since then my relationship with God is incredible. I trust Him in everything and with everything. I put my totally faith in him knowing that he is going to provide and lead me where I need to be and do what I need to do. Every day as I wake up and read his word, (not for sermon prep but personal study) as I feast on the living bread drinking my coffee listening to channel 32 on XM. I then spend time in prayer. I let him know that I am taking up my cross and following Him today. Where he leads or as Galatians says where the Spirit Leads I will follow. Since I have surrended I become more in tune with the Holy Spirit which is a total blessing in my life. The holy spirit. I tell my congregation that there is a difference in knowing about God and actually KNOWING GOD. God wants us to know him personally. Yes, Psalm 139:1-8; 13; tells us that God knows us, everything about us. But He wants us to reach for Him. Surrender all to Him. Commit to Him daily!

  4. mattdabbs says:

    Mark,

    Have you ever read Total Forgiveness by Kendall? I hear it is really good. What you wrote sounds a little like Romans 7. I hope and pray you can continue to grow through that and see God for just how big he really is.

    Brian,

    Thanks also for your honesty. What is funny is that to the other people you (as well as me!) are the other person who makes things tough and that is humbling to recognize.

    Kinney,

    Powerful testimony and a great reminder to us all to hand things over to God in easy times as well as tough times. I have found it easier to give it all to God when I am in over my head than when things seem to be going well. I need to work on that.

  5. Philip says:

    It’s hard to be specific about this. I could obviously incorporate them all with “selfishness,” but that’s too broad for what you’re going for here.

    I’ll copy & paste something that I wrote in another friend’s blog comments section tonight. See if this makes sense:

    —–
    We all have a script in our mind of what life will be & how it will go. Problem is, sometimes the things that thrill us, that completely fit our script, don’t fit God’s script. I think that’s where the unhealthy things that you allude to come into play — for whatever reason, that part of the script that thrills you (1) doesn’t really fit you (the way God shaped you, that is), (2) doesn’t fit His values, or (3) doesn’t fit with “a path” that He wants you to take or whatever.

    Something I often preach, and the terms I often think in, is that I just want to hand the pen to Jesus. No matter how euphoric or wonderful I think my script (e.g. my choices) may be, I have to realize & trust that God can author for me a better story than I could author on my own. That God can take me & mold me into a better self than I could make on my own. And that the story **NEVER** ends poorly when God is holding the pen.
    —–

    So what would you label that? Control issues with God? Faith/Trust issues? Already-but-not-yet issues? Whatever label you think fits best would be my answer.

    Also, being a single man, I can’t get away with not saying something about the whole sexual purity issue. That’s really hard. Tonight, I was breaking in the new Buffalo Wild Wings on Panama City Beach. It is spring break month. It was a difficult dinner in terms of self-control. Luckily I had a brother in arms with me to share the burden with & talk it through with. I mean, really: I’m a single male in about as target rich an environment as there is. There’s some difficult temptation there.

  6. Odgie says:

    For me, the toughest thing tends to change. At one time it was learning to forgive. Now it is maintaining my faith in the face of things that seem to contradict that faith. Down the road a piece, it may be something else altogether.

  7. mattdabbs says:

    Philip,

    That makes total sense. Seems like trust that God does have a better plan and that he knows better than we do. Trust is huge. That is a tough one. Glad you have some good friends who understand and are helpful. Not everyone is blessed enough to have that.

    Odgie,

    It seems like Satan adapts to our maturity level. Once we get passed one thing he doesn’t stop working against us. He finds the next chink in our armor. Our lives and challenges are dynamic and Satan adapts in order to stay effective. Thanks for sharing that. Great thoughts both of you. Very helpful and I am sure other people can relate.

  8. Stu says:

    I would add the trials of being “born again”. Not the buzzword, but to truly be born again. Not the meaningless words we throw up as a sort placebo shield, but the TRUE act of being born again.

    Every day, waking up a new. Not being the old man you ended yesterday on, not being the child you started yesterday as. Being born again with a new slate…forgiving ourselves and others with God in our lives…born again EVERY day. Not just on any given Sunday, or once in our life time.

    • Allie says:

      It’s never a “buzz word” to me. Being born again is such a blessing and I am not worthy. I could never use this term in vain… Because it means so much to me deep in my soul. Again, it’s a heart thing.

  9. mattdabbs says:

    Stu,

    Really living out who we are is really tough. Paul is pretty adamant about becoming who we already are/who God has already made us to be.

  10. anon says:

    The hardest parts – the ridicule from others and the trust factor.

  11. Allie says:

    Th hardest part for me is daily surrender of myself and my flesh. And also I get heartsick over people who don’t believe and “Christians” who don’t know the truth.

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