Its hard being a Christian in the modern Church
It is very hard being a Christian today, more so today than ever because the meaning of Christianity has been diluted and misrepresented in the modern Church. Unfortunately a lot of well-meaning Christian folk have decided that they know better than God what direction the Church should take; they have decided that numbers or Ďbums on seatsí is what God is after and they couldnít be further from the truth.
None of us are perfect and I would hold my hands up to say I try but fail so many times to do whatís right, but at least I do try. You can do the best with your kids and bring them up to hopefully make the right decisions and live the right way, but ultimately they will do what they want and have to live with the consequences of the decisions they make. This is just how God sees us, He tries to help us, to show us the right path to take. He gave us the Bible, which contains a template for life, for the Church, and just about everything but ultimately we do what we want and then we have to live with the consequences of our decisions.
This is where the Church comes in (and by the Church I mean the building and congregation you join), God calls people to take on certain roles in the Church, Pastors and teachers being in that list. Their job is to open up the Bible to us to help us understand and live according to the rules and regulations, and thatís what they are, like it or lump it, they are rules. As we learn we understand why we must live as God asks, we understand what Jesus had to go through to enable us to get back to God when we die and why we are in the mess we are in now. As we learn we grow in faith and knowledge. This is a purpose of the Pastor to help mature those whom God puts under his care.
Now no one said it was going to be easy, the Devil is out there with his followers and angels trying their best to upset the Christian, to tempt them from Godís path. Itís also hard when we know the Devil is about apparently, making himself known in a clearer way than God. We may think; ďwhy canít God just show Himself and everyone will know who He is, everything will be alright thenĒ. Well, He did that, man used to walk with God in the Garden of Eden and he still sinned. God sent His son who did miracles and proved to the Jews who He was but they rejected Him because they were too full of themselves.
He gave man rules to live by, in the form of the Commandments, and people couldnít live by them. We now live in a period of Grace where God will forgive us unconditionally and what happens? We abuse that position and his grace. God has, over the years provided all combinations of life, and every time we mess up. Finally after the Second Coming, when Christ will rule and Satan is locked away and everything will be partially returned to perfection, Satan will be released and guess what? Even after being ruled by Jesus Christ Himself people will be easily tempted and led astray by Satan for a final time.
Itís called life and sometimes it stinks but itís all we have and God is the only answer. Not everyone will be saved, not because no one tells him or her about God, but because their hearts are too hard; they will never accept Him no matter what. This is hard for some people to understand but its something we must come to terms with. It doesnít stop us praying for people, especially if they are loved ones, no one would expect you not to. With kids all you can do is prepare and build the right foundations so when they are hit by the real world and all the temptations the world has to offer, God willing they will somewhere in their hearts remember and listen to that still small voice telling them what is right and proper.
Sometimes when we pray for people we love, we have to be prepared for God to do something. I say that because our ways arenít Godís and He sees their hearts while we see a front which more often than not is not the true person. So when God deals with them it may seem like they are being attacked, not helped, but this may be the only way to break down the hardness they have so God can get to the real heart. God will answer our prayers but not always in the way we want, and sometimes we donít see Godís hand in the situation until afterwards and then we see how we actually hindered things because we wanted it to go a different way; instead of believing in God, we meddled.
This also applies to us. We may think our life should be different, that we deserve better, but we sometimes have to stop struggling and accept our lot to enable God to take us to our promise. We have our ambitions and desires which is good, this is what makes us human, always wanting to be better, but these feelings can lead us away from God when we think Ďwe wantí more.
The secret to Christian life is learning to be content with what we have, just in case that is all life has for us. This isnít, as some would think a cop out, being a Christian isnít about accepting second best or Ďour lot in lifeí as an excuse for God not giving us what we want. It is being able to control our natural desires; to fulfil our spiritual needs first. If we can do this God tells us that Ďall these things will be added unto youí.
Yes, if God can trust us to be able cope, no matter what the situation, then He will give us more as He sees fit. If we prove we canít cope and that, say, money or possessions are all we seek above all else, then out of love He could keep those things from you. Why would you give your son or daughter something, which you know would hurt them? You wouldnít and neither would God.