5 Lies I Used to Believe About Being A Christian

It's not only those outside the Church who have misconceptions about Christianity.

Growing up in church, I thought I had just about everything figured out about being a Christian.

That all changed for me one day when I visited a church that was much different than the straight-laced church I grew up in. It was a place where people dressed and acted the same on Sunday as they did the rest of the week. It was a place where it was OK to be honest and open about doubts and struggles. There was even an atmosphere of excitement and celebration that was expressed during worship.

All of this was very new to me. There was such of contrast in this group of believers that I had to question much of what I believed about being a Christian. What I discovered is that some of my “Christian beliefs” were actually misguided and inspired more by worldly religion than the Word of God.

It’s obvious that non-Christians have some misconceptions regarding Christianity, but often those who grew up in church, do too. Here are just a few of the lies I used to believed about being a Christian:

1. Your Behavior Affects God’s Love For You.

With all the rules we set up for ourselves, it’s easy to think following them is the way to get God’s approval and love. But the truth is you don’t have to try to use your behavior to earn God’s love. He loves you despite your behavior.

You don’t have to try to use your behavior to earn God’s love. He loves you despite your behavior.

Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). God’s love for you isn’t based on what you do or don’t do, it's based on His Son Jesus and your decision to accept Him!

2. Church is a Weekly Event and Just a Building.

Living in the Bible Belt, going to church can sometimes be seen as just something that everyone does. Worshipping God is often compartmentalized and sectioned off from the rest of our week. There is this idea that every Sunday you have to dress up and polish your external appearance and behavior.

But God is interested in your heart, not your outfit. He looks at the internal of man, not the external (1 Samuel 16:7).

Church is also frequently viewed as building and not a body. In reality, we should see the Church as a Body that just so happens to meet in a building. The Bible talks about the Church as a living and breathing thing, not just a meeting that takes place each week with some singing and preaching (Ephesians 2:19-22). We weren’t meant to love an event, we were meant to love people.

3. You Shouldn’t Express Your Struggles or Doubts.

Sometimes the Christian life is hard. At times, there are no easy answers or explanations. Instead of suppressing our doubts and struggles, we should admit them to God and ask others to help us walk through them.

David was a man after God’s own heart, and he often openly expressed his doubts and struggles during times of hardship. Being honest and open about your struggles doesn’t make you less spiritual, it actually draws you closer to God because it forces you to get rid of your pride and self-sufficiency.

You don’t overcome the difficulties of life by ignoring the struggle; you overcome them by inviting God to work in those areas (Psalm 43:5)! What good is it if you have everyone fooled except for God?

4. Church Leadership is Only For the Super-Spiritual.

Sometimes, those of us sitting in church pews each week can start thinking of our pastors and elders as spiritually superior, “better” Christians and almost infallible. This is part of why we are so surprised and shattered when church leaders fall—we forget that they are sinful human beings, just as in need of grace and accountability as the rest of us.

The truth is, your pastor, worship leader, small group leader or whoever else may have more training and/or have walked with Jesus longer than you have, but they are still people. They struggle. They need friends that talk about things that don’t directly relate to church.

The Bible isn’t about rules; it’s about Jesus

God uses the weak for His glory. And He can use you. You don’t have to work yourself up to be some sort of spiritual superman in order to serve Him.

5. The Bible is Mostly About Rules.

We often make the Bible out to be a rulebook. But when we view it that way, we will lose interest quickly because there is no connection made.

The Bible isn’t about rules; it’s about Jesus. It’s designed to be used in the context of relationship. The goal in reading the Word shouldn’t be to get to a certain chapter, but to meet Jesus along the way.

I challenge you to ask yourself if you believe any of those ideas. You’re not alone if you do. The good news is there is hope, because there is truth. And the truth has the power to set you free (John 8:32).

Top Comments

Jeff Hicks

2

Jeff Hicks commented…

You seem to imply that the church of our childhood was one that did not express struggles and doubts. I can remember many times as a young boy hearing Godly men and women give their testimonies and weep about their struggles and doubts and how God delivered them. I get weary of hearing that the church of yesterday wasn't effective just because society was different in those days. I remember too hearing Godly men preach the Word about living free from sin consecrating our lives to God fully. They taught that Church wasn't a weekly event, but a lifestyle that was different from the world. Most of the churches in our city only have services on Sunday morning and most families never have heard a prayer meeting or testimony meeting when God's Holy Spirit fell on those Sunday nights or Wednesday nights. Service wasn't just for the Godly or highly Spiritual. We all actually participated in worship. We didn't have a praise team, orchestra or band who sang to us, we actually had corporate worship where everyone sang. You could hear the basses, the alto's and tenors. We participated in worship rather than observed. The Bible is a love story about God's gracious gift of His Son! And once you fall in love with Him you obey His commandments. It has been so long since I have heard a clear message on sin and confession, rather we hear a feel good message on Sunday's about how Darth Vader or some other movie has spiritual application. So young man, don't be guilt of accusing the past revivals of Moody, Wesley and others of not dressing or acting as they do all week. I want worship that makes me feel unclean in the Father's presence so I will cry out with Isaiah "that I have filthy lips and live among a people of filthy lips" and for the "holy of holies of the temple to fill me with that realization so I will go out through the week and live differently. Thank God for our spiritual heritage! May it always remind us of our need for Him, not a reflection of ineffective worship!

Matthew Prihoda

3

Matthew Prihoda commented…

Well... Let me give one more lie about church that evidently a LOT of people believe:
6) Cutting edge, tech-savvy, trendy churches are the only way to be liberated from living these lies.
This narrative is so predictable as to be very trite. Young kid grows up in oppressive fundamentalist church; believes misguided notions of life until liberated by modern, trendy church full of compassion.
Bah-loney! I've seen passionate, liberated worship in a fundamentalist church. I've seen doubts expressed and overcome in a fundamentalist church. I've seen Christianity lived as a lifestyle and not just compartmentalized away in a fundamentalist church.
This is an old, tired sing and dance. Come up with a new reason to reject fundamentalism. Or better yet, come back to the fundamentals of the faith and live them out in a fundamentalist church. That would really be a new narrative!

97 Comments

Jeff Hicks

2

Jeff Hicks commented…

You seem to imply that the church of our childhood was one that did not express struggles and doubts. I can remember many times as a young boy hearing Godly men and women give their testimonies and weep about their struggles and doubts and how God delivered them. I get weary of hearing that the church of yesterday wasn't effective just because society was different in those days. I remember too hearing Godly men preach the Word about living free from sin consecrating our lives to God fully. They taught that Church wasn't a weekly event, but a lifestyle that was different from the world. Most of the churches in our city only have services on Sunday morning and most families never have heard a prayer meeting or testimony meeting when God's Holy Spirit fell on those Sunday nights or Wednesday nights. Service wasn't just for the Godly or highly Spiritual. We all actually participated in worship. We didn't have a praise team, orchestra or band who sang to us, we actually had corporate worship where everyone sang. You could hear the basses, the alto's and tenors. We participated in worship rather than observed. The Bible is a love story about God's gracious gift of His Son! And once you fall in love with Him you obey His commandments. It has been so long since I have heard a clear message on sin and confession, rather we hear a feel good message on Sunday's about how Darth Vader or some other movie has spiritual application. So young man, don't be guilt of accusing the past revivals of Moody, Wesley and others of not dressing or acting as they do all week. I want worship that makes me feel unclean in the Father's presence so I will cry out with Isaiah "that I have filthy lips and live among a people of filthy lips" and for the "holy of holies of the temple to fill me with that realization so I will go out through the week and live differently. Thank God for our spiritual heritage! May it always remind us of our need for Him, not a reflection of ineffective worship!

Daved Crouder

43

Daved Crouder replied to Jeff Hicks's comment

if your worship is in-effective, you should just purchase more lighting and sound equipment! Isn't that what all successful churches do these days?

Jeff Hicks

2

Jeff Hicks replied to Daved Crouder's comment

Seriously? That's what you think? Prayers for you.

Matthew Prihoda

3

Matthew Prihoda replied to Jeff Hicks's comment

Jeff Hicks- see my comment below. I think we might have a lot in common!

David Franklin

1

David Franklin commented…

Very Good Discussion! I have experienced all of these mindsets growing up in a super conservative Independent Baptist church, to be honest I struggle a lot, and find myself being more discouraged than uplifted at the church I attend. But God will move me in His Time until Then I realize He's in control, I pray He'd place me in a place were I could get involved in a musical band or worship group. I have been singing my whole life but in the church I have grown up in it just seems that any sort of outer emotion or apparel that doesn't suit there taste is just frowned upon and looked at as if it's this phony pharisaical thing. This is something I do not understand. I do understand that yes there are those who would abuse the Christian music industry knowing that it might make them some extra dough and they are truly not children of God, but what is that for us to decide the genuineness of the individuals heart? that to me would be categorizing which is that not casting judgment? so with that said I find more true worship in the music I write and sing when it's just me and my guitar at home. and yes I understand Music is not our only form of worship but it's just a huge one for me because I always have a song in my heart, and I just want to be used! God Bless All!

Matthew Prihoda

3

Matthew Prihoda commented…

Well... Let me give one more lie about church that evidently a LOT of people believe:
6) Cutting edge, tech-savvy, trendy churches are the only way to be liberated from living these lies.
This narrative is so predictable as to be very trite. Young kid grows up in oppressive fundamentalist church; believes misguided notions of life until liberated by modern, trendy church full of compassion.
Bah-loney! I've seen passionate, liberated worship in a fundamentalist church. I've seen doubts expressed and overcome in a fundamentalist church. I've seen Christianity lived as a lifestyle and not just compartmentalized away in a fundamentalist church.
This is an old, tired sing and dance. Come up with a new reason to reject fundamentalism. Or better yet, come back to the fundamentals of the faith and live them out in a fundamentalist church. That would really be a new narrative!

Jim

31

Jim commented…

It's a great article… other than the following contradiction:

"God’s love for you isn’t based on what you do or don’t do, it's based on His Son Jesus and your decision to accept Him!"

Since "accepting Him" would be an act of one's behavior this pretty much nullifies the rest of what would have been a beautiful claim. Unfortunately it just gets lumped alongside all of the other "exceptions" of Christianity:

God loves you unconditionally… if you will meet His conditions, of course.

Jesus died for your sins… if you believe that he died for your sins, of course.

There's nothing you can do to save yourself… here's what you need to do to be saved.

God doesn't want anyone to perish… but, most of the world will perish.

God’s love for you isn’t based on what you do or don’t do, it's based on His Son Jesus... and your decision to accept Him, of course!

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