As Christians, we know that by accepting Jesus into our hearts and by believing Jesus died for our sins, we are saved and will gain entrance into Heaven. As Christians, we are fully aware of the importance of repenting for our sins and following the Word… But oftentimes we don’t look beyond that. Being a Christian is more than just obeying what you read in the pages of The Bible. It is about loving those and working hard for those around you, just as much as you love and work for God.
I catch myself frequently thinking about everything that’s wrong in my life. I focus on what needs to be fixed or improved, what I need strength and faith for. I pray and pray and pray… But it seems like I can only ever get halfway there. I thought to myself that maybe it was my prayer technique. I researched for days, trying to figure out how to pray effectively.
It wasn’t that.
I thought that perhaps my faith was just weak and that God was working on His own time. I was patient, never allowing myself to doubt the generosity of God.
It wasn’t that.
I thought that maybe it was because I needed to be more grateful, to praise God for everything that was right in my life, instead of dwelling on the negative. I thought that maybe my bitterness was blocking my blessings.
It wasn’t that (although it is very important to express gratitude on a daily basis).
I wracked my brain, wondering why I, a good Christian for the most part, seemed to never be able to progress not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I felt like I was stuck in the same spot, economically, socially, and spiritually, unable to transform my situations or myself into something of greater value. I pray every day, barely sin (and repent when I do), attend worship sessions. I even sing in a Christian a capella group, for Christ’s sake. So what was the problem?
The problem is that I’m not a good Christian. I’m a ‘paper Christian’, a person that follows the rules, but doesn’t live the life. Yes, I worship with other Christians around me, yes, I pray to God and I have a great relationship with Him, but what am I doing for the world? How am I upholding my duty as a Christian in relation to those that aren’t saved? How am I upholding my duty as a Christian, simply by loving mankind and serving those around me?
Jesus is the epitome of the perfect human. He is kind, gracious, forgiving, and most importantly, he is a humanitarian. As Christians, sometimes we focus too much on what we’re doing in our own lives and not what we’re doing in others. It is our duty to spread the Word and to help others, not just to pray and avoid sin. Those things are important, but they are not the only things God wants for us.
In order to receive blessings, we must bless others, and that’s a realization I came to after months and weeks of struggling. I had to remove myself from my personal bubble and realize that I cannot call myself a Christian if I am not extending the love God gives to me to other people. Heaven is God’s domain, the Earth is ours. It is our responsibility to carry out his teachings and apply them to our lives to make the world a better place. If you find yourself asking why God doesn’t answer your prayers, think first about what you’ve done for someone else recently. God is giving, but it is not a one-sided relationship: we must give back as well.
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17).