Growing up in a Christian home is a profound blessing.
But it can also present some very serious challenges.
Because, often, here’s what happens:
You start off as a young, zealous, Bible-toting teenager. You think you have God (and the world!) figured out. You’re confident, visionary, idealistic.
Your life goal: to totally be sold out for Christ and convince others to view the world like you do.
But then, life happens.
- College professors eloquently challenge your views.
- A breakup shatters your romantic ideals.
- Online articles make you doubt your beliefs.
As the years go by, you meet genuine, sincere, friendly people—who aren’t Christian. Cracks begin to appear in your spiritual foundation. Your faith and confidence, once so strong, now seem alarmingly damaged.
It is precisely then when many Christians choose to walk away from the faith. They conclude that their former beliefs don’t line up with the realities of life. They decide it would be better to start afresh. To leave the whole Jesus thing behind.
My encouragement for anyone wrestling with that?
Don’t walk away. Give it some time.
We certainly don’t acknowledge this enough, but
it’s totally normal and natural to experience doubts as we grow up.
I actually think doubts are a good sign. They’re evidence that you’re maturing and coming of age spiritually. The rubber is meeting the road. You’re testing your beliefs. That’s a good thing.
So don’t act hastily.
Talk to people.
Pray for answers.
Wait for the dust to settle.
And please realize this:
you almost certainly inherited a whole package of beliefs and practices that are not central to Christianity.
Unfortunately we often fail to differentiate between core doctrines and other secondary issues.
The Republican party?
It’s not Christianity.
Young earth creationism?
That’s not Christianity.
Your family’s cultural customs?
Those aren’t Christianity either.
I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. | 2 Corinthians 11:3
Your parents and friends probably hold some outdated/nonsensical beliefs. Don’t think you have to believe all of them in order to be a Christian. You don’t.
Christianity, at its essence, is about God loving the world, giving his Son, and allowing us to enjoy eternal life by believing in Him.
Is that something you can stand on?
All I’m trying to say: Don’t throw Jesus out quite yet. Think about what Christianity is, and what it is not.
This season may be God’s way of letting you scrape off non-central aspects of your faith. In the end, your faith may look different than it used to, but who said that’s a bad thing?
How much better to confidently stand on the core gospel message than to half-heartedly go along with customs that you were brought up with!
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. | 1 Corinthians 15:3-4