As a gritty Christian, I’ve heard it said a few times–"Well, I don’t really have much to tell. I was saved as a kid, and nothing bad ever happened to me. I’m ‘just’ a Christian."
Do you know what a huge accomplishment that is in today’s world? If nothing bad ever happened, that’s rare indeed, and not ‘just’ anything. Take a quick look around the globe, and the phenomenon of “I have no real complaints” becomes nothing short of miraculous. To be able to say that about one’s life is truly special.
We have a notion that in order to express Christ, we must have a gritty contrast to reveal the grace. Otherwise, we have nothing to talk about.
But the reason this makes a testimony is not because Christ operates primarily in the depths of sin and sorrow, but at the end of self. And for most of us, we have to mess up big in order to get to the end of self.
Living sinfully is not necessary to the deep experience of Christ. It would not exactly make for a holy God, if life-damaging pain were the measure of experiencing Him. He is certainly there in the worst pain, and I can assure you, He's there more than anywhere. But what it takes to meet Him is the end of self. Anyone can do that, regardless of experience.
Anyone can open their Bible and dance with God.
I used to wonder, why insulate oneself from worldliness, if it’s of no value against fleshly indulgence? (Col. 2:20-23) And there’s a truth there on one side of the coin. I should go out and face the world for what it is. But there’s also a truth on the other, which says, “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father … to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27) I can go out and face the world for what I am -- a child of God.
Even if I remove the world’s intrusions and conquer the devil’s temptations, there is still the flesh -- the me that I wrestle with daily. I could be a hermit on a hilltop and still need God. Because when all the external weight is removed, I must still deal with myself.
And that’s when I truly begin to see God for who He is–in contrast to my incomplete, internally gritty self. Knowing that, I am learning to say what Paul said:
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~Phil. 4:12-13There is a lot to conquer in order to come face to face with Christ–to end the separation due to unlikeness of nature. It doesn’t matter where a person’s at, whatever the obstacles, there will be some. So tackle ‘em and never apologize. There is no such thing as ‘just’ a Christian.
Do you feel like you can "dance with God"?
Do you ever wonder what your spiritual message is?
Do you wrestle with what it "should" be?
Cathi-Lyn Dyck is a freelance writer and editor living on the Canadian prairies. She has been eclectically published in the realms of homeschooling, Christian speculative fiction and gardening humor. A former atheist and feminist who came to Christ in 1995, she runs a weekday blog on Christian thinking, life and culture at ScitaScienda.com.