Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being a Christian in front of those who aren't

One of the biggest issues that I think believers, especially  new believers, have is being a Christian in front of people who aren't. Especially in front of family and friends who have known them their entire lives.

This is an issue I truly struggle with. I was raised as a believer, but turned from Christianity in my teens, and see now that my faith was never very strong before that. Now I am a believer again and feel so amazingly joyful, inspired, and radiant about my new relationship with God.

Due to this new relationship with God, I am being molded and changed daily. Just a few years ago, I was acting very differently: going out with friends on the weekends to bars, dressing less modestly, dating different men. It was a very "normal", maybe even more modest, existence for most 21 year olds today.

But now, I am very different. The way God has moved in my life is amazing. He not only forgave me my transgressions, but he filled me with the Holy Spirit, who is daily guiding and nurturing me. I feel new, clean, happy. I know that God is tugging at my heart via the Holy Spirit and leading me in directions he wants me to go.

This can be very difficult for some of my old friends to accept. Some of them were old Christian friends from my teen years who fell away from Christ. Others have never been believers. While I have tried to maintain some sort of relationship with these people, I find it very difficult sometimes to be my new self in front of them.

The other big area of difficulty for me is with my family. I have family members who are not believers and others who are believers but have not been convicted to live a Christian life as I have been. They of course knew me when I was not a believer (or when I claimed to be one, yet didn't act like it). It is easy for them to see the difference in me and wonder what kind of brainwash I have stepped into.

I think of this because I spoke with my dad today about taking a trip to Central America this summer. My stepmother is from a central american country and they have asked if we would like to join them on a trip. My first instinct is "YES!". I love to travel! I cannot think of anything better than seeing new places and experiencing new cultures.


I immediately wondered about the ability to stay modest in the hot climate. I wear skirts all the time: what about hiking in the Mayan ruins? I can already see the less than tactful comments about me being "impractical" by wearing high neck-lines and skirts everywhere. I can already see the odd looks when I come out in my modest swimwear (a short sleeve rash-guard shirt, and a pair of calf-length board shorts). Part of me doesn't even want to go because I don't want to go through the hassle of dealing with the stares and remarks.

The Christian life is not easy, and was never meant to be easy. I could be wallowing in a jail cell like Paul, or I could be martyred like so many Christians throughout history. Instead I am scared of a few scathing comments from friends and family who just don't understand.

The instinct is to flee from all of these people. I have made quite a few Christian friends, but I truly believe that it is my job to minister to those around me. I might benefit from hanging out only with Christians, but my non-Christian friends and family will not benefit. Christ said "Go, and make disciples", not go and isolate yourself from this dangerous world.

I heard a great quote the other day regarding the Titanic. It was: a boat in the ocean is good, but the ocean in a boat is a disaster. We as Christians are to be immersed in this world of sin, working for good, but we are not to allow the world to be immersed in us. How difficult! Especially when people in this world make is so much more difficult.

I pray all of you are encouraged to know that I feel this way, and I pray some of you can commiserate with me. It is not easy to feel the eyes of judgement on us, thinking we are stupid for believing in God and his son Jesus Christ. However, we need to constantly preach to ourselves, reminding ourselves what is true and why we must live up to the calling of Jesus we have had.

1 Corinthians 1:2, in the introduction, Paul writes:

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

Preach these words to yourself. We are called to be his holy people as we have been sanctified in Jesus Christ. I know that I have been preaching them to myself a lot lately, and praying for the strength to stand firm in the ways of the Lord. 


  1. Amy,

    I can completely relate! Thank you for being so open and vulnerable. I grew up thinking I was Christian, but when I was in high school I completely fell away from the faith. Now, looking back, I'm not even sure if I was ever really saved then. It's hard to say, but thank God I know I am saved now, by His grace! I know some people that know the exact day they became saved, but for people like us it's more about growing in the Lord from where we are. Hope that makes sense. :)

    I can also relate to the issue of modesty. I don't always where skirts (my husband actually prefers that I change things up with skirts, jeans, and dresses), but I do want to look feminine and modest in what I wear. Be encouraged! I know how it can be with some people thinking I look "too" modest, but what matters is what God thinks. Man looks at the appearance, but God looks at the heart. Don't give up!

    {I also feel the same way about birth control, how my family & some friends look at the issue and speak against what I believe can be very discouraging, but we must hold to what God convicts us of!}

    Whew! Sorry that was so long, haha.

  2. You are very right.
    Harder than being judged for your convictions is people mistakenly thinking that you are judging THEM due to your convictions. I've come up against that a lot- especially in my family.
    I suspect people think I am brain-washed too sometimes, but I'm not- Jesus did better than that- I am heart-washed.

  3. I too know how hard it can be to take a stand in front of those that aren't like you. But, just to think that our witness now can come back to others later and can possibly be used to draw them to the Saviour encourages me greatly! I wear dresses all the time, and I have had people point and laugh at me and make fun of me for how "extreme" I am, but I believe Jesus knows that we're striving to please Him first and foremost! My desire is to keep my body for the one and only, or either for Christ alone. Here's a poem-
    The beauty of a woman
    Is not in the clothes she wears,
    The figure that she carries,
    Or the way she combs her hair.

    The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
    Because that is the doorway to her heart,
    The place where love resides.
    The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole
    But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

    It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
    The passion that she shows,
    And the beauty of a woman
    With passing years only grows!

    written by Teresa Mahieu

    Keep living for Jesus and one glorious day it will be worth ALL to see Him face to face. How many friends you have don't count (I don't have any earthly; only Jesus), but always know Jesus will be our Friend and One like no other! With Him as a friend, we don't need others; even though it is a blessing to have Christian friends. Keep looking unto the hills from whence cometh our help!! A Sister in Christ, Sarah

  4. Be the example and just be happy with Jesus by your side. Life is too short to worry about what others think. I am in the same situation. I work full time and I am a director at a hospital. I am looked to for leadership. When I was just starting off, as a clerk, my modesty was made fun of but now it is empowering because I lead by example and can glorify HIM, without having to say a word.


I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!