7 Things I Wish I Knew About Christianity Before Becoming A Christian

When following Jesus doesn't look quite like what you expected.

Christianity comes with a lot of expectations. Some are biblical. Some, we've grafted on.

Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of what our lives will look like after accepting Christ into our lives. We think seasoned Christians have it all together, always feel close to God and never doubt.

But it doesn’t take long for those illusions to be shattered. We soon realize that following Christ doesn’t look exactly like we expected.

Here are 7 things I wish I knew about Christianity before becoming a Christian:

It’s Really Hard.

There’s a dangerous tendency to sugarcoat the Christian life and market it as an easy, joyous, successful and wonderful alternative to the “secular” existence.

The Christian faith will surely have its blissful moments, but much of it requires and demands service, sacrifice, dedication, humility, patience, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and work—the things that manifest Christ-like love. Not only is this not easy, but usually it’s extremely hard.

Following Jesus is messy, grueling, uncomfortable and requires an extraordinary amount of time, energy, effort and grace.

There’s a reason ministry leaders burnout at alarming rates, church attendance numbers decline, and friends seemingly abandon the faith—following Jesus is messy, grueling, uncomfortable and requires an extraordinary amount of time, energy, effort and grace.

Christianity is often perceived as an escape mechanism, a crutch, a way to easily avoid the harsh realities of life, but it’s the exact opposite—it’s a journey that embraces truth and confronts the world in brave, honest and often painfully difficult ways. Prepare yourself for not just the good, but also the bad—and especially the ugly.

It Doesn’t Fix Everything.

After hearing miraculous testimonies about people being healed, addictions overcome, lives transformed and being inundated with the Biblical stories of redemption, hope and reconciliation—expectations about Christianity can be pretty high.

Yes, God does amazing and unexplainable things, but eventually you’ll realize that Christianity won’t solve all your problems.

Sicknesses don’t aways go away. Broken relationships don’t always get better. Your income doesn’t improve. Simply put, troubles don’t just up and disappear. What happened?

The Christian faith is more about creating a relationship with God than finding a magic solution to all of life’s difficulties. Unfortunately, many still treat Christianity as a spiritual formula to get what they want. When the inevitable disappointment arrives, so do feelings of betrayal, cynicism, disappointment and anger. Many people abandon “Christianity” altogether because it didn’t meet their preconceived expectations—no matter how unrealistic or selfish they were.

You Won’t Have All the Answers.

The Gospel is often presented The Answer to all of life’s deepest questions, and it does give purpose and meaning to our existence, but Christianity doesn’t completely eradicate doubts, intellectual struggles and philosophical inquiries. In fact, it often brings up even more questions than answers.

Biblical content is debated by thousands of pastors, theologians and believers, and each doctrine is associated with hundreds of theories, ideas and traditions. If you’re looking for decisive, conclusive, and indisputable facts, Christianity will offer some, but ultimately, it’s about finding God—and once you find Him, the evidence will speak for itself.

You Never Stop Learning and Changing.

Your faith will change. Life happens. For example, we may grow older, get a job, meet new people, travel, understand new cultures, fall in love, get married, have kids and experience thousands of different moments that ultimately shape and influence the way we think about God.

My theology is different now than when I was in elementary school, and it changed in middle school, and after high school, and during college and once I become an adult—constantly maturing.

We often treat our faith as if it’s something static, immovable and permanent. God is eternally unchanging, but our faith isn’t. We see this throughout the Bible, as the Israelites—and even the disciples in the New Testament—had their understanding of God change as different occurrences and events happened to them.

We often treat our faith as if it’s something static, immovable and permanent. God is eternally unchanging, but our faith isn’t.

Our faith is a “Pilgrim’s Progress” involving ups and downs and numerous changes. Many believers fearfully avoid change and see it as some sort of sin—and you can certainly go from a good belief to a bad belief—but the concept of change itself shouldn’t be avoided, especially since it’s at the very heart of Jesus’ teachings.

You’ll Still Make Mistakes.

The most dangerous and self-righteous people are those who think they’re incapable of doing anything wrong and who never admit mistakes.

To be human is to blunder. Christianity doesn’t change that. You’ll still fail, stumble and make horrible decisions, but the difference is that you’ll have the reassurance of God’s grace, mercy and love.

It’s Complex.

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The term “Christian” means many different things to many different people. There are hundreds of unique denominations, thousands of different churches, and a myriad of traditions and theologies intertwined within them.

The classifications are endless. It doesn’t take long to realize that Christianity is filled with complexity, nuance and variety. There are divisions, debates and conflict, but also unity, dialogue and accountability. Overall, its way more complicated than most people realize—but God still works through it.

It’s Not Us vs. Them.

Christians often rage against secularism, the “Fallen World” and “Evil Forces.” Whether intentional or not, it can become easy to assume that Christians are engaged in a battle against non-Christians—but we’re not.

Christians are in a very real battle against evil—against Satan—but we need to be careful not to view unbelievers as the enemy. It’s easy to become completely immersed within a “Christian Bubble” and alienate yourself from the rest of humanity—self-righteously judging, shaming and fearfully avoiding the world around us.

But God loves everyone. This message is radical and controversial and absurd—but according to the Bible, it’s true, and as followers of Christ we should boldly do the same. So no matter how you feel about your faith, simply ask God to give you the strength and capacity to follow Christ’s example!

Top Comments

Regis A Saxton

5

Regis A Saxton commented…

GREAT article, and something I've often thought about after... 13 years now as a believer. Everything he's said is true. If only our (speaking to Evangelicals) churches would convert believers with these messages in mind. Anyone who says, "I want to follow Christ." needs to be asked, "Are you sure? Have you counted the cost?" Even Jesus asked people that question. Let's help people make informed, real decisions for Christ, not emotional reactions in the heat of the moment. It's the difference between the seed in the shallow, thorny ground and the seed in the well-watered one.

Luke Jones

2

Luke Jones commented…

Knowing Christ does not fix everything... on earth. You will suffer on earth, but as a believer YOU ARE PROMISED EVERLASTING JOY IN HEAVEN! We endure this hard, laborious, tedious world for only a short while, but then we have eternal rest with our Savior.

Pray for endurance and patience. Heaven is waiting for you!

44 Comments

Regis A Saxton

5

Regis A Saxton commented…

GREAT article, and something I've often thought about after... 13 years now as a believer. Everything he's said is true. If only our (speaking to Evangelicals) churches would convert believers with these messages in mind. Anyone who says, "I want to follow Christ." needs to be asked, "Are you sure? Have you counted the cost?" Even Jesus asked people that question. Let's help people make informed, real decisions for Christ, not emotional reactions in the heat of the moment. It's the difference between the seed in the shallow, thorny ground and the seed in the well-watered one.

Luke Jones

2

Luke Jones commented…

Knowing Christ does not fix everything... on earth. You will suffer on earth, but as a believer YOU ARE PROMISED EVERLASTING JOY IN HEAVEN! We endure this hard, laborious, tedious world for only a short while, but then we have eternal rest with our Savior.

Pray for endurance and patience. Heaven is waiting for you!

Mrs Shya

1

Mrs Shya commented…

I agree with this content except that I am glad that I did not know these things before deciding to trust Jesus as my savior or else, I may not have made the decision! God knows best and in His perfect timing, it was the idea given by preachers of the rosy concept of Christianity that I think drew me in. Having learned, I now know it was really the work of the Holy Spirit. For those saying it's not like that, I simply: keep living. James said, it's not IF you face trials but WHEN you face trials (James 1:2). On 1/7/13 I faced the nightmare of very mother. I then lost all hope and did not care to survive. About "hope"- it's not just a *touchy-feely* four lettered word, it's necessary for survival: (Colossians 1:27 Christ the hope of glory!) with my heart shattered in a thousand pieces, I had to decide whether to to "remain" or "walk away". God restored my hope and I am standing today by the loving, merciful grace of God. For those who say it's not like this, you haven't faced a major, life changing trial. Examine why? Are you not saved? Are you deceived...? and to be be deceived it the worst trick of the enemy, thinking you are saved then getting to glory and hearing Christ say "depart from me, I never knew you." Examine your self to be SURE you are in the faith. (1 Corinthians 31:9). If you are indeed saved, are you a carnal Christian? (1 Corinthians 3:3). Finally how can faith grow unless it has been tested and tried. No problems = no growth. I hope my scripture references are correct, I'm in a hurry but had to share. Great article.

Cassy Booker

1

Cassy Booker commented…

Awesome article. I have been a believer for 4 years and the first two years were all about redemption and getting to know my awesome Father and the last two years are exactly what is in the article above. It's hard but so, so worth it.

Ragna Rok

1

Ragna Rok commented…

Jesus was lucky: people remember him despite the fact he wasn't even the first individual in history (imagined or otherwise) who fit the messianic bill. You'd all be better off forming a relationship with Krishna or Zagreus or whatnot, because at least they came first. :P

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