10 Crucial Understandings Found in My Walk with Christ
I’ve been walking with Christ Jesus for 18 years. My walk with God is the age of an adult in the US. That’s intimidating and yet, awesome. Over these years, particularly the past decade, I have learned so much about God, myself, and people as a whole. While I do not consider myself to be anyone’s mentor or pastor, I do feel I have realized some understandings that can be helpful to other Christians. This walk is not easy, so here’s ten things I think you should understand, as a Christian, about life and the people in it:
All people assume and judge. This isn’t a trait reserved for Christians or religious people. All people judge and assume things about each other. It is the way our brains work. They categorize everything so that processing the daily actions of life doesn’t become too taxing. Being judged or having something assumed about you will be your experience in life. Don’t be too upset when it happens to you. Forgive, understand, and make the judgment call of whether to fight, walk away, cut ties, or reconcile.
Judgment in itself is not evil, as most people would try to tell you with “Thou shalt not judge” (Matthew 7:1-5). If judgment was wrong, how would you judge what is good and what is evil? What is wrong is judging others with piety or haughtiness. You are not better than others and others are not better than you. Therefore, if someone makes a mistake, it doesn’t make them worse than you. Likewise, if you do something good, it does not make you better than the next person.
It’s all about your mentality when you make the judgment. There’s a difference between, “He’s a bad person,” and, “That’s a bad thing to do.” There’s a difference between, “I cannot hang with you because you’re evil,” and, “I can’t hang with you because I do not do those things.” Watching how you word things can be crucial to the heart of a person falling away from Christ and falling in love with Christ. You cannot be careless with how you judge and assume nor how you broadcast your judgments and assumptions. This leads to my next understanding.
People project their ideals of your religion onto you. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard, “That’s not Christlike,” or, “That’s not how a Christian’s supposed to act,” or even, “Doesn’t your Bible say?” AVOID people like this if they have not already established that they are on your side with their actions and words. I can’t tell you how many times people who are not even Christian have tried to assume how my walk should go. It’s an attempt at manipulation and control. Don’t give them the opportunity.
If someone tries to tell you what’s Christlike, first ask, “Are you even Christian?” Those who are not Christian have no business trying to tell a Christian how to be a Christian. Let that sink in. Only a fool tries to tell a doctor how to be a doctor without first being a doctor. People, even Christians, will read a few scriptures in the Bible and think they understand what it’s like to be a Christian. Don’t let these kinds of people try to dictate how you behave. The Spirit is not in them and communication with the Spirit is a part of being a Christian.
With Christians, your approach shouldn’t change too much. However, keep your mind open. The Lord uses brothers and sisters to hold us accountable and sharpen each other in our walks with Christ (Proverbs 27:17). However, people will learn a few things about you and try to place you in a position you were never supposed to occupy. I’ve been called a teacher, preacher, pastor, a potential theologian, and other seemingly elegant things. What the Lord has called me to be is a writer. The older I get, the more I understand that God is correct and people are not. People mean well, but good intentions do not equate to the will of God.
People don’t really know what to do with you. When you decide to fully commit to the Lord, you will confuse many people. A lot of folks do not understand the uniqueness of a walk with God. No one is meant to walk in your shoes. They are not fit to do the task God has for you.
Not only can they not do what you are meant to do, they don’t even know how to get you to the place where you can unlock your calling. People’s visions are limited. Don’t let their ideas about who you are define who you are. Don’t let their ideas about which path to take be the main advice you take. God talks to His people. Keep an open mind, because God works with and through people, and you can get good advice from anywhere, but never forget, you follow God, not role models or people who seem great.
We are all human. The thing about being human is that anyone and everyone is capable of mistakes. Some of the people I’ve looked up to have personally attacked me. No one is exempt from mistakes. The only perfect Being in life was and is Jesus Christ. Therefore, stay connected to Him through prayer, reading His word, listening for His Spirit, and fellowshipping with His people. Put too much hope in people, and you’ll get hurt. Your faith is tied to God, not a church, not a people, nor events and circumstances.
Just because someone hurts you, does not mean you have the right to retaliate. It is very tempting, I get it. However, turning the other cheek is stronger than any “clapback”, petty response, or violent reaction. Pride comes before a fall and whoever seeks to save their life will lose it (Proverbs 16:18; John 12:25). It wouldn’t shock anyone if you retaliated after being wronged, but what truly marks a good Christian is the ability to maintain self-control and respond with prayer, forgiveness, and mercy.
Being the toughest one in the room is not what Christ expects of you. After all, He did say, “The one who is the least of you is greatest amongst you.” (Matthew 23:11-12). I’ve found this to reign true, and it is very hard to bite your tongue every time and extend grace and mercy continuously. Don’t forget God could’ve “clapped back” at you, punished you, destroyed you, or did the very thing you want to do to someone else to you even better than you. Forgive as you are forgiven. Extend mercy as God extends mercy to you. Be the peaceable one. Be aware of your shortcomings before you try to get back at someone else.
Being aware of yourself is CRUCIAL. The two greatest commandments, according to Jesus, are, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What does loving with all your heart, soul, and mind look like? What does loving yourself look like? Have you searched yourself to understand what your “all” is? What is love? What does love look like to God? What does love look like to the individual you’re attempting to love?
You have to know the depths and limitations of your heart, soul, mind, and body. You have to know your capabilities. It’ll help you know when you’re overdoing it and when you’re not doing enough. It’ll also help you understand when you need to lean on God for help, and when God is pushing you to step out of your comfort zone. While you search to understand yourself, you also cannot limit yourself.
Subconsciously limiting yourself or God is bad (and common). When you begin to feel like you know a little something, stop yourself and tell yourself to shut up and continue growing. You will never know more than a speck of what you need to know. All knowledge is in God’s mind. If He showed you the big picture, you’d be overwhelmed. Trust me, I tried to understand it. It’s too vast and too complex for any human. You have to lean on God, not your own understandings (Proverbs 3:5). The very second you say, “I’ve got this,” you damage yourself.
A bad habit people have in life is thinking the God who abides in His people is incapable of witnessing your sin. I learned the hard way that even in the midst of rebellion, God is present. He will let you do wrong, because He loves you and will not control you, but He will chastise and punish you for your foul decisions. It may or may not be an instant punishment, but believe it’ll come.
Another bad thought by people is thinking that the Creator of the universe does not think you or your struggles are important. We think God doesn’t care that we’re lonely. We think God doesn’t care that we’re jobless. We think God doesn’t care if we broke our TV in a fit of rage. It is not just the major sins, but even the white lies that God cares about. It is not just the presidents the Lord cares about, but the custodians. Don’t presume to think you know all that God can do or care about. It is not just the church. All of existence is important to Him. That is why He delays His “second coming” (2nd Peter 3:9). He sees how awful our world is, and it breaks His heart worse than it breaks yours. Even if you’ve had seasons of depression, He has felt that sorrow and has felt it much longer than you can handle. Be aware of yourself so that you understand when you are unintentionally limiting yourself and God.
You should never be harder on yourself than God. You think humanity is so bad. You see your faults and think you only contribute to this madness further. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The Lord has forgiven time and time again, and has already foreseen your shortcomings. You are not surprising God with your downfalls. You are only confirming what He knew about you. Don’t let that get you down.
Though He foresaw your weakness, He still fought to save you. He sacrificed His life for you. He didn’t do that for a waste of a human being. He did that for His child. We tend to oversell our frailty and be harsher critics on ourselves than God will ever be on us. Don’t punish yourself. Let God handle it. Be kind to yourself, encourage yourself, and keep your head up. If you are unable to do it yourself, gather people around you who will do it for you.
God is not all you need. I spent many years thinking God was all I needed. He’s not. He’s given me too many gifts in the earth for me to try and ignore them. I’m talking about other people. People love to think, “God and I, that’s it.” But that’s not it.
The only person God ever made to be alone was Adam, and even Adam was found to not be good by himself. It is not good for any of us to be alone with God. Yes, have your personal time with God; have your prayer closet. However, do not forget to invite people into your walk. You are not good enough to walk this path alone. Though the path is narrow and scarcely populated, get ahold of some good people who are taking their walks with Christ just as seriously or even more seriously than you, and walk with them. It’ll do you, and everyone you encounter, some good.
Finally, life is a blessing. When life is good, it’s a blessing. When life is bad, it’s a blessing. Remember, all things work together for the good of those who love and serve the Lord (Romans 8:28). Whenever you’re struggling with your sin stronghold, remember, you’re still going to get through it. Whenever someone is attacking you, remember, you’re going to get through it. When people are dying all around you, remember, this life is a blessing, not eternity.
Life is a gift. It shows you all that is good and all that is evil, and allows you to choose to love one or the other. It shows you that God thought of you in such a way that He just had to create you. It shows you what you are capable of experiencing. Many come from broken homes, broken families, broken cities, and broken nations. Yet, time after time, people have risen up and found the strengthen to make something of themselves.
Life is amazing. Following the Lord is challenging. To be forced to be the rare good in a world full of evil is a tall order. That is why so many fail. However, count your challenges as blessings. Each decision to be Christlike rather than fleshly, or typical, puts a smile on God’s face. He understands how hard it is to be good here. After all, He died trying to be good here. Don’t think He looks at your suffering and doesn’t mourn with you or try to help. He sees what you’re going through. Trust Him.
Those are the 10 crucial understandings I decided to share with you. More important than these are the basics: faith, prayer, community, love, hope, etc. These are just some thoughts I believe many do not easily come to understand. Everyone’s walk is unique, so think about the revelations that came to you as you walked with Christ. Share these words of wisdom. Knowledge is not meant to be bottled up. I look forward to hearing from you about the many lessons God has taught you in your walk with Him. Be blessed. Thanks for reading.