Growing Up Christian

I grew up in the church. From childhood, I could say all the right things and I believed in Jesus. I was a good person who always lived by the rules and thought she was saved but could not remember any kind of a salvation experience. I had a reawakening of sorts when I was seventeen but looking back, that wasn’t really a defining moment in my life. But last summer is when I chose to give my life to Christ, because in attending our new church I wondered for the first time if I was or wasn’t saved. It was a hard time for me, a bad couple of weeks, but it forced me to make a choice as an adult, and it was a choice that wasn’t made lightly and came from my faith and willingness to give everything over to God – my hopes, my dreams, my future, my wants, and my willingness to be obedient.

Thinking I might not be saved forced me to evaluate whether or not I wanted to be a Christian. I looked at both sides. I weighed the evidence. I thought about the possibility that Christianity is a myth, a farce, that there is nothing outside death and that I could live however I wanted to, without fear of repercussions. But I came back to it, and… in the months since, I’m nowhere near the same person that I was. I have changed so much that many of my friends would not recognize me. I have grown up dramatically and the worldly things that once dominated my life no longer hold the same appeal.

After he got saved, my dad changed dramatically. It was such a huge shift in his life that my mom, who had gone to church her entire life and also “grown up in the faith,” realized that something was missing in her life, and she turned her life over to Jesus as well. I always wondered why I hadn’t had a transforming experience, but chalked it up to “well, I grew up Churched, so I never did get to be really ‘bad.’” But here is the thing: even Churched Christians are bad. None of us are good enough to earn our salvation, or to be proud of what nice people we are, because we’re not. We sin, we lust, we covet, we are the same deplorable, sinful human beings that the rest of the world is only we have a blanket of forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

I discovered that as a human being, I stink. I’m not a nice person. I don’t have good thoughts. I struggle constantly with sin and I have done bad things, thought about doing bad things, and made excuses for my behavior. Getting saved did not make me perfect. It just changed a lot of things, softened some of my struggles, and forced me into alignment with God. It asked me to give up some things, to face how superficial and worldly I can be, and really brought me to my knees. My family has seen the kind of transformation in me that my dad went through, only of a different kind, because we are not the same person. Jesus never offers us the same life once He enters into it; he offers us a new life.

If you grew up in the Church but have not changed for the better in the last five or ten years, you may want to evaluate whether or not you are saved. Salvation always brings about transformation, and if you are arrogant enough to believe that there is nothing that needs “worked on” in your life, you’re wrong. Secular humanism wants us to believe that everyone is basically good, and a nice person is a good person, but by God’s standards, a nice and good person is still a depraved sinner in comparison to His Son. Salvation has nothing to do with having grown up reciting Bible verses, or paying lip service to the fact that “Jesus died for my sins.” It literally and utterly changes everything about you over time, and if you are not changing and constantly becoming more like Him, through no act of your own except your faith, maybe you were in the same place I was: a “nice person” but not really a follower of Christ.

I could say all the right things. I could write all the right things. But I wasn’t saved.

17 thoughts on “Growing Up Christian

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  1. Charity~
    I want to thank you for being upfront and honest enought to post this. I went through the same experience when I was 16. I had grown up in a Christian church, said a prayer when I was little, but I wanted it to be REAL and personal to me. I finally decided to give my life to Christ, but then was nervous to make the declaration that I had. Would people think I was a liar, a fake? When I finally decided to announce it, I had such peace.
    So, with very personal experience, I want to thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thank you for your comments. It IS hard to “come out” as a newly saved believer when you’ve been talking, walking, and acting like one your entire life! But it’s important to share, otherwise others can’t stop and wonder, “AM I really different? DID I truly surrender my life to Christ?”

  2. Amen to that! It makes such a difference once you start actively pursuing God rather than just passively believing in Him on an intellectual level. I grew up in the church too, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that it suddenly hit me – I say I’m a Christian and I’m pretty well-behaved but do I actually take my so-called faith seriously? The five years since have been the most exciting, (reluctantly) growth-filled, difficult, and fulfilling of my life so far. Now and again I slip back, or stubbornly tell God that “I want to do this one myself!” but pretty soon I discover that I just don’t like who I am when I’m away from Him.

    1. Your comment reminds me of a quote from Focus on the Family’s Truth Project series — do we really believe what we say we do? If we actually believed what we gave lip-service to, how would our lives change?

      I’ve been trying to put into action my faith over the last six months and you know what? It’s been hell. I have been dragged at times kicking and screaming, because I was comfortable where I was. I didn’t want to grow or change. But even though it has been painful, it has also become almost “comfortable,” because I am realizing that God’s way suits my spirit. It may not suit my wants, or my selfish needs, but it does fulfill me in ways that I never thought would be possible.

      And you’re right, we don’t like our former selves. And given the chance? I wouldn’t go back to who I was before.

  3. This is an excellent post! And I’ve noticed an evolution in your writings more recently which I guess is external evidence of inward growth. How exciting. Bless you.

  4. Once again, you have been a challenge to me. I know that I’m saved, but that I’ve stagnated in my growth. And why? Because I’m too selfish to get off my butt and spend time with my Lord. Thanks for reminding me how blessed I am to be a Christian.

    1. Don’t beat yourself up about it. As Scarlett O’Hara (who as we all know, is a beacon of wisdom… =P) would say, “Tomorrow is another day!” Just start wherever you are.

      1. I had an excellent time with the Lord on Monday. I forgot yesterday, but I plan on spending time in my Bible again today.

  5. Gosh, girl, fabulous post! And I agree with you hundred percent. I went through a similar situation about five years ago–it was a rough time, but I have grown in my faith and closer to Christ. I believe that is truly when my faith became living and active ❤

    1. Thank you! I think that those times are the hardest we ever face in our faith, but we do the most growing in the midst of them. Christianity is comprised of one big choice, and then a million smaller choices that follow each and every day.

    1. Very true. I sometimes think that the times in our life when we are “cold” is when we have the most potential to draw nearer to Him, because it forces us to reach out to Him more than when we “sense” His presence in times of hardship.

    1. It breaks my heart how many people grow up in the Church and never make a personal decision to follow Christ. 80% of America identifies itself as Christian… but they don’t act like it. How many will be shocked and disappointed to discover — when it is too late — that they never truly repented?

      1. So true. Just look at all of the “hollywood” people (not that they are an example to begin with…) who claim Christianity – it is so fake for most of them and nothing but a way to “boast” their image.

        A lot of people claim Christianity without really meaning it or knowing anything about God. How sad.

        1. It really is sad… and tragic. For so many, faith is just a cultural thing. They grew up in the Church, so that makes them a “Christian,” right? Only it doesn’t.

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