The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian

http://ionecontramundum.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/long_road-ahead.jpegIn church and amongst believers, being a Christian is fun and easy.  We can encourage one another with words we all understand the meaning of.  We can sing uplifting songs.  We can recollect together great things our God has done in the past and hope together for great things our God will do in the future.

Out in the world, being a Christian is often not fun and not easy.  We are mocked for not accepting evolution.  We are chastised for being intolerant or hypocritical.  We seem to have no satisfactory answer for why there is so much suffering in a world made by a loving God.

Out in the world, it can be hard to be a Christian.  In response, we can choose to stop being Christians.  I know many people who have chosen this route.  We can also choose to stop being out in the world.  I know many people who have chosen this route.

As for me, I choose to continue to be a Christian.  I also choose to continue to be out in the world.  I also believe that the hardest thing about being a Christian has nothing to do with evolution or homosexuality or hypocrisy or suffering.  I believe the hardest thing about being a Christian is that I want to be my own god.  I want to make my own sense of the world, I want to make my own world, I want to figure out the rules and behaviors and ends and means that work best for me.  And I want these things as deeply as I could possibly want anything.

There is a lot of language in the Bible about self-denial.  Many people far nobler than I have responded to this language with extreme forms of self-denial.  They have forsaken physical comforts, disciplined their eyes, mastered their stray thoughts.

The hardest thing about being a Christian is that being a Christian is even harder than all of those things.  Because being a Christian means truly dying to self.  It is the hardest possible thing to do.  It is the opposite of what I want.  It is the last thing my body and mind are predisposed to do.

And it is the gateway to truly living, truly becoming who we were made to be, truly shining like you can't even imagine.  People think of God making them the way they are and that they are therefore free to be and act however they choose.  I believe in something even more freeing and even more exalting.  But following the path to that is the hardest thing you will ever do.  And it is the easiest choice you will ever make. 

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