A Common Misconception Teens Have About Christianity
Editor’s Note: The following post is the first in the series “10 Common Misconceptions Teenagers Have About Christianity.” You can read the others in the “Students” section on The Narrow Road Blog by Chris Jones.
1. Once I become a Christian, all of my problems will suddenly go away.
This is a very common thought among today’s teenagers. You might have heard of something known as the “Prosperity Gospel.” This is the belief that Jesus will somehow give you everything you ever wanted and that negative things will never happen to you. I recently heard a sermon by a popular pastor who was telling his crowd of thousands that Christians should never talk negative. He said if we talk negative, negative things will happen to us but if we talk positive, positive things will happen to us. The power of positive thinking. Crazy talk.
This is completely foreign to the Bible. Here’s a reality check — get prepared — the Christian life is not always easy! You will still face ups and downs, challenges and joys. Consider some of the leaders in the Bible. Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and His disciples, who all faced tremendous difficulties and adversity. Their lives make it clear that we will have problems and troubles to overcome. Check out the following verses:
1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Big word moment: Sanctification
Sanctification begins the moment we start the journey of following Christ. This means God begins the process of taking us from who we were before Christ to who He wants us to be. His Holy Spirit exposes the areas of our lives that need to change to conform to the image of Christ. He pushes them to the surface so we can deal with them. If we recognize God and obey His desire for us to change a behavior, it results in God being glorified and our lives becoming better. His goal is to make our lives rock the free world but by His definition. God is 100 percent committed to this task. This happens as we read God’s word, stay awake in church, through others God puts in our lives, and through circumstances in our lives.
Sometimes this is a really hard process. This might mean that God could cause difficulties in our lives in order to get the desired outcome. It can mean that God uses our difficulties in an effort to bring us more into His will for our lives. The more we fight against God’s desire, the more difficult it becomes. God loves us and wants the absolute best for our lives. This means that He often uses our difficulties to bring our lives in line with where He wants us to be for His glory and our good.
Check out what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul makes it very clear that God sometimes allows difficulties and hardship into our lives in the process of making them amazing and useful for His purposes. I love Paul’s response to his difficulties. He says, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses . . .” What! Yeah. You heard him. He is saying he thinks it’s awesome when he faces difficulties because he knows God is in control and is using the problems to make his life better. Awesome!
The other side of the issue is living in a fallen world. Sometimes our difficulties are the result of living in a fallen world that is full of sinfulness. Sin has consequences. Sometimes we are the victim of the consequences caused by others sin. I knew a teenage girl who was one of the most Godly teenagers I’ve ever met. She was so committed to God and His purpose for her life. One night, on the way back home from her boyfriend’s house, she was hit head-on by a drunk driver. She died instantly. In the aftermath, the question that many asked was, “Why would God do this to Alicia?”
Because we live in a sinful, fallen world, we are sometimes the victim of others’ sinfulness and suffer the consequences of their behavior. Children of divorced, addicted, or abusive parents are another good example. Even in these circumstances, God can redeem the difficulties for His glory and our good. At Alicia’s funeral, over 125 teenagers and adults gave their hearts to Christ. Over the years, as many retell the story of her death, thousands have come into a relationship with Christ.
The key is to remember that God loves us more than we can imagine and has the absolute best planned for our lives. He proved this once and for all through His Son, Christ Jesus. When the difficulties come, and they will, we know that God is present, in control, and using the situation for His glory and our good.
Chris Jones is a youth ministry consultant and blogger. He’s a firm believer in maximizing the youth culture “Window of opportunity.” He serves as a teaching and youth pastor in Huntsville, Alabama.
Originally posted January 26, 2012.
- Andrew MasonCreating A Small Group Curriculum Map by Ben Reed http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/creating-a-small-group-curriculum-map/
- Marcella WoodridgeThe longer I live the more I know I need GOD leading my life every step of the way.
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia Carter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost May Jesus Christ Be The Ultimate Treasure We Always Seek by Debbie Harris..
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost Father Who Can We Graciously And Humbly Walk Beside Today Just To Love by Debbie Harris.
- Bryce Johnson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost 13 Resources For Ministry Leaders Who Struggle with Porn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Expert Reveals Biggest Concern About Youngsters And Social Media.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Half (54%) Of US Teens Think Life Would Be Better Without Social Media.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Roy Lichtenstein's Most Popular Painting is Displayed.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost After Confronting Campus Bully, HS Football Player Gets Suspended.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Conservative Student Is Victim Of ‘Racist Rape Apologist’ Attack Fliers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Yik Yak app Putting Teens Behind Bars, Police Warn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression.
- Andrew Shivers just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost GIVEAWAY: Win a Framed “The Fault in Our Stars” FULL SIZE Movie Poster [Winner Chosen].
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost ‘Boxtrolls:’ Incredible Animation, Charmless Story.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: Dad Lip-Syncs Daughter's Tantrum.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost SOTW: ‘Chasing After The Wind’ by Alan Powell (Free Friday Download).
- Matt Perman published the blogpost The Drive Video: If You Want Engagement, Self-Direction is Better.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: The Unexpected Earl by Philippa Jane Keyworth.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost ‘Believe Me': Alum’s thought-provoking film now in theaters.
- Michael Ramsey published the blogpost Stress Kills!!! Here's 3 Ways To Do Something About It.
- Larry Carter published the blogpost How The New Fall TV Season Reminds Me Of The Gospel.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost 20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Hellion’ is A Wild, Family-Driven Ride Worth Taking.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is Cool, Uncommitted.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost “Kidnapped for Christ” Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Talking about cancer on WFAA’s ‘Two Chairs’ series.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Get Excited: New ‘Believe Me’ Trailer Validates Everything We Thought.
- solomon david published the blogpost Micromax Canvas Nitro Launched for Rs 12,990 in India.