Have you ever felt like you’re a bad Christian? Afternoon host Jeff Loman has. And the more he gets to know really committed Christian people, the more he finds many of them wrestling with this overwhelming feeling. They feel like they haven’t done enough to genuinely please God. Most won’t even admit that it’s a struggle until you really get to know them. In today’s blog, Jeff shares 3 common indicators of this struggle and 1 very important tidbit of truth that changes everything.
YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH
The first of our 3 common indicators is that you want to please God, but you’ve got this fear that whatever you do is never enough. The desire to honor the Lord and follow His lead is there, but your sinful human nature continues to trip you up. And your feeling that you’re not enough is actually quite accurate.
You’re not enough to be a good Christian on your own. In fact, God’s word says that on our own, any of our good works are simply trash.
But thankfully, when you put your faith in Jesus, you aren’t on your own anymore. Your new identity in Christ and relationship with the Father offers a fresh perspective as we’ll discover in a few moments.
YOU’RE FRUSTRATED WITH THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
It’s ok to say it. Sometimes you’re frustrated with your Christian life. You may envy the career advancements of a non-believer while you are passed over for a promotion. You grow increasingly more weary of obeying God while the world mocks your Christian worldview. Or maybe you’re fed up with waiting for God to answer a years-long prayer.
All that frustration might make you feel guilty as you begin to consider if you’re just a bad Christian. You start to wonder:
- If I were a better Christian, I would have gotten that raise
- If I were a better Christian, I could effortlessly defend my faith and turn their mocking into praise
- If I were a better Christian, the Lord would have answered my prayer already.
It’s true, the Christian life can be frustrating. Yet, that’s exactly what Jesus promised. In fact, in John 16, Jesus lays out some of the difficulties His followers (that includes you) would face. But He offers a helpful promise.
The challenges you face don’t make you a bad Christian. The good news is that they show that you’re a real one. And there’s even more good news: Jesus already has the victory.
YOU COMPARE YOUR “BAD CHRISTIAN” LIFE TO OTHER “GOOD CHRISTIANS”
If you’re like us, you find yourself scrolling through social media and seeing your pastors and friends sharing Bible verses, beautifully worded testimonies, and thoughtful reflections from their daily devotionals. And all their other posts are happy moments with their spouses, children, or nights out with friends. They seem to have it all together, while you struggle to develop a Bible reading routine and keep your cool when your kids drive you crazy.
The truth is that what they share online or even in small group church meetings is never the full truth. Every believer struggles in different areas of their life. Just because you don’t see it on the outside looking in, doesn’t mean that you’re a bad Christian and they’re somehow better than you. If you find yourself struggling with this continued experience, you’ll be conformed by Jeff’s single piece of advice and encouragement:
DON’T PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF
This internal battle of feeling like a bad Christian is not a modern day problem. This was a thing even in New Testament times. Back in the days of Paul when he was writing to the church at Galatia, he addresses the idea of “living under the law,” following a list of dos and don’ts to be “good enough” this way:
Did God adopt you as his child just because you completed a four-week Bible study? Or because you prayed every day for an hour? And you took really detailed sermon notes? Or you memorized 30 verses in the Bible? The answer is obviously, “no.” You became a Christian by trusting in Jesus. And you keep living as a Christian the same way. It depends on God and not your personal effort.
Spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study and fasting are awesome and good; nothing wrong with those things at all. But just daily trust Jesus. He has adopted you. You’re His child and He’s got expectations, but remember He’s your dad. He’s your Father, and by the way, a very good Father.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE FEELING LIKE A BAD CHRISTIAN?
What do you do when those feelings set in? Is there a Bible verse you go to in those times? Tell us about it in the comments!