Sunday, June 2, 2013

Christianity is often hard (and that's okay)

Driving round town this week I heard a short devotional segment on Christian radio. I don’t remember who the speaker was but their point was this: The fact that Christianity is often hard doesn’t mean it isn’t true or worth doing.

This is something I think it would do us well to remember often. We live in a society that strives for greater convenience, simple to use products and things that can be done in the least number of easy steps as possible. Easy has become a virtue and difficulty has become something to eliminate.

Christianity does not fit into this assumption. Certainly there are blessings, joys and pleasant times, but frankly it is often hard. Persecution happens. Faithful people get mentally or physically ill. Fighting the desire to sin can be challenging. God can be confusing. Applying Christian ethics can make some decisions and situations substantially more complicated than they otherwise would be. These are realities in a fallen world.

I think a lot of angst as Christians happens when we swallow cultural messages about ease and therefore assume if things are persistently hard that we are doing something wrong. People would generally not say it this bluntly, but I think that is what is often behind things like prosperity gospel and the all too common exhortations along the lines of “If you just pray/read your bible/repent/give/be content/submit more then __________ will work out.” Good things to do but by no means quick fixes to anything. We often don’t know what to do with people who just don’t find it easy.

If you are finding being a Christian hard, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with you or your faith or Christianity itself. You are probably quite in touch with reality. Despite all the cultural messages about the virtues of easiness, things worth doing in any area of life are often in reality hard. Hang in there and keep pushing on because Christianity is often hard but most definitely something worth doing.