4 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Christian

I came to believe that Jesus Christ was the risen son of God when I was 18 years old. But when I did, I had many unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. Some of these came from my own preconceived notions of Christianity, while many others came from books, Christian television, and people’s personal testimonies.

In the end, many of these unrealistic expectations hurt my relationship with Christ.

Therefore, I want to share with you four thing I wish someone would have told me before I became a Christian, and how these four things, if not clearly understood, can cause many of us to doubt our love for Christ and his grace for us.

You will struggle

Like many others, before I became a Christian I was head over heals in love with sin. Every chance I got I enjoyed the pleasures this world. And when I became a believer I expected all of those past sins and lustful desires to fade away.

…But that didn’t happen.

I heard of Christians who’s alcohol, sex, and drug addictions stopped the second they gave their lives to Christ. I heard of others who never cussed or thought an evil thought after they said “yes” to Jesus. But that wasn’t me. I didn’t grow angel wings and float away to heaven in pure and utter bliss.

I struggled. I fought. I fell.

I had no framework for why I was struggling. In my mind, Christians were perfect, and I need to be as well.

But then I read Romans 8:15, where Paul says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’”

In Romans 8, Paul outlines the reality for all Christians that there will be an internal struggle with sin. We will fall. We will struggle. However, we will not fail.

I wish I was told that I would struggle, but my struggle would be unto life, and not death.

You will hurt

Once I became a Christian, I lost all my friends. I fell out of love with sin. My passion and zeal for the things this of this world faded away. My ambitions and dreams died. And it all hurt!

Before my encounter with Christ, my identity was wrapped around what I did, what I dreamed of becoming, and what I succeeded in. After Christ, all of those shattered on the ground. I was stripped down to nothing and stood before the King of the universe. That hurt!

I wish someone would have told me that seeing your old self die and your old dreams crushed would be the most glorious pain in the world.

It’s like a child having their old and ragged hot wheels car taken away. For them, it brought them joy and excitement, and now it is gone. But what they don’t realized is that their parents just bought them a battery powered race car to replace their old toy. It’s so much better than they could ever imagine!

Our pain of becoming a believer and seeing our old idols die is difficult, but when we get a glimpse into the plans Christ has for us and who he is making us into, it changes our entire perspective.

You will be a fool

I had no idea that my friends and family would think I was a fool for becoming a Christian. I had no idea it had social and political ramifications.

No one told me that if I believed in a Creator God who’s Son, the eternal Word, died for the sins of humanity, I would be thought of as an intellectual and social fool. When I found this out, it was challenging. I wanted the world to like me. I wanted to be thought of as smart and savvy. I wanted the world to be in awe of what I believed. But that never happened.

I wish someone would have told me to prepare myself and my mind to intellectually uphold and fight for the Christian worldview. For so many years I was a foolish Christian in a wise world. What I needed to learn, which I eventually did the hard way, was that to be fool for Christ and his Kingdom, does not mean that I have to be an intellectual fool. In fact, some of the smartest metaphysicists, philosophers, geneticists, astronomers, etc., in the world are faithful believers in Christ. Oh, how I wish I was told that early on in my pursuit of Christ!

“Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:14-15)

You will never be content

Do you ever wonder why you have such a passion and desire to see injustices cease? Do you every question why you want to see the world changed for the better? Do ponder why you have a burning desire to see international evangelism and church planting take place, or Christ-centered businesses and organizations to start?

Why are many of us discontent? Why do we desire more? Why are concepts of peace, love, grace, and safety, constantly running through our minds?

Well, Christ has a habit of making us crave the New Heavens and New Earth (Rev. 21-22). He instills in our hearts and minds a desire for something that is not of this world. And this can be incredibly frustrating and, oftentimes, heartbreaking.

Christ has called the Church to be an active agent of seeing the Kingdom of God come to this broken earth. We are called out to be a part of the amazing work of redemption throughout every sphere of our lives. However, we must recognize that until sin and death are conquered, until there is no more death, no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more tears in the New Heavens and New Earth, many of our desires will go unmet.

I wish someone would have told me that this view was not a Christian cop-out, but a hopeful assurance that despite my greatest (or weakest!) efforts, Christ will be victorious. And that we will one day be fully satisfied in the glorious work of Jesus on the Cross for this whole world.