Thursday, April 21, 2011
Why Do Some Christians Give Up?
By Hayley Boud
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine from church was telling us that a friend of hers has decided to not be a Christian any more. This was very difficult for her and she wondered why do some Christians give up along the way? She was afraid because this person was really on fire for God at one point and seemed to be a true Christian and this made her fear that other Christians she knows could give up and may be even herself.
So the question in her mind was, “why do some Christians give up and what can I do to make sure my friends and family and myself don’t give up?”
I have been asking this question to a few people and here are some answers:
1. They weren't really true Christians, they were only religious Christians.
2. They were discouraged by some event or by people in the church
3. They never had a true encounter with Jesus
4. They weren't filled with the Holy Spirit
5. They didn't have friends or family to keep them on track. We need people to pray for us.
6. It happenend slowly, they decided not to go to church this week and then they decide not to go to the Bible Study next week and slowly, slowly they give up.
I think that all of these points are true, we need a personal encounter with Jesus, we need the Holy Spirit, we need friends and family to pray for us and keep us on track and we are sometimes discouraged with life and Christians and the church.
But I think we need more. Look at John the Baptist. Didn’t he have a personal encounter with Jesus? Yet some where he doubted that Jesus was the Messiah (Mathew 11:1-19). Jesus called him the greatest man that came from a woman and yet he doubted Jesus was the Messiah. If John the Baptist can doubt, then what stops me from doubting?
Peter (the apostle) said he would never deny Jesus, he was convinced and yet he did. Does this mean that being convinced that you would never give up, is not enough to make sure you will never give up?
Is being filled with the Holy Spirit or baptised in the Spirit enough to keep us from giving up? What about those people who are slain in the spirit. They are really in the presence of God, they fall down but when they stand up, nothing changes, they go out the door and light up a cigarette. I was slain in the spirit once but I was still rude, proud and selfish, nothing changed. What about Abraham, the Father of Faith, was he baptised in the Holy Spirit?
Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”
“Work” means that we have to work and it’s hard, not easy. If we are cruising along, then we run the risk of losing our salvation. We have to strive, we have to fight and it’s a battle everyday. We have to force ourselves to read the Bible, force ourselves to pray, force ourselves to meditate, to memorise scripture, to fast, we have to push ourselves to overcome temptation and make ourselves to change the areas in our life that need changing and we have to be tough on ourselves. We have to fear and tremble about the fact that we could lose our salvation if we don’t work hard at it.
More people commit suicide in NZ than other countries and yet we have everything so easy. In countries where people have to fight for survival, they fight for survival. Let’s fight for our spiritual survival.
Mathew 7:24- 27, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash”.
When trials and temptations come, if we don’t have a firm foundation, we will fall. What is the firm foundation? It’s everyone who hears the Word of God and then acts on them, they are the wise ones and they are the ones who will not fall. Therefore the key to standing firm is to read the Word of God and then act on it.
Also, we have to remember that some Christians give up because of what other Christians say or do, they get discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we have to encourage ourselves and keep going. We also have to try our hardest not to be a discouragement to others, we don’t want to be a stumbling block, so let’s always try to encourage one another.