Many times I hear collegians share their distress over frustrations that prayers are not being heard or that God’s presence is no longer felt. These expressions are usually followed by them asking, “Does this mean I’m not really a Christian?”
Why do we make the Christian experience so complicated? Too often we like to define ourselves by what we’ve done wrong instead of defining ourselves by what Christ is doing right in us.
For all the bad stuff in our lives we ask God to edit out, we should stay focused on the truth that He is editing in just as much, or more, of the righteousness of Christ into our lives.
The Gospel-life is not rocket science. Becoming and being a Christ-follower is really quite simple. Even a child can do it. How? Be like Jesus. 1 Peter 1:15 (NIV) reminds us “just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” In other words, be pulled into a way of life that is constantly being shaped by the way Jesus lived out His life. Be holy! Simple. Right?
Jesus gives us this direction another way when he says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and, secondly, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Simple. You want to be holy? Then love people when they least expect it and least deserve it. Most times, this starts with loving yourself, even in those times when we don’t feel like anything is happening.
State Missionary Stephen Thompson serves as lead Baptist campus minister at Auburn University.