I fear being fake.
I have been a Christian for over 20 years now and there have been times when I have felt I have just been going through the motions. Is that wrong?
It is a horrible feeling, but as I have often said it is difficult to control feelings (although it is possible to manage feelings).
Christians are real people. We serve a real God, who really loves us and who is really disappointed when we sin. At this I am ashamed. I don’t want to sin, and I do. I want to be serious and active in my faith and yet at times I feel as if I am just taking it all for granted.
In Revelation, Jesus through his servant John write to his church. He addresses the Church of Sardis (Rev 3:1-6). The church of Sardis is a disappointing church – maybe that is why I can relate to it better than many of the churches in the mentioned in Revelation! I feel often that I am a disappointing Christian.
Sardis is rebuked and warned without commendation. They have a good reputation (at least before others), but Jesus knows they are dead and so he calls them to ‘Wake-up!’ before what they do have also dies.
But I take a lot of heart from what Jesus says to Sardis. Let me tell you why. When I worry that I am a fake, or think that I am just complacently going through the motions, or pretending to be serious about faith – then I can often spiral downward. What do I do? How do I help myself be real?
Look at what Jesus says to this church:
‘Remember….what you have received and heard; obey it and repent’ (Rev 3:3)
The answer is to go back to the basics. To remind myself of why I became a Christian in the first place! This is why. I realized that I was a sinner (that hasn’t changed!) and that I couldn’t save myself. God could – and did. I became a Christian by hearing and receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ and in him I knew and felt the forgiveness of sin. This friend, is a gift from God.
A good prayer is that God would help us to remember. That is, that God would continue to work in us, such that we can return to the basics and remember the gospel which we received and heard and which saved us in the first place. And as we remember – obey it and continually repent.
It is not our own efforts which make us Christian. It is what God has done for us through the gospel that has made us Christian – and he doesn’t fake it.
Can’t tell you how to feel, but I can tell you how to help manage your feelings – and when it comes to your faith, if shaky, return to the gospel and remember what God has done for you. Repent and obey.