I don’t know if other people struggle with this issue or not but I will share my experience in order to shed light on a mindset that is rarely talked about in the Christian church. When I used to go to church I would feel so uncomfortable. The experience was completely overwhelming. What I felt was that if I wasn’t doing the Lord’s work I wasn’t doing enough. I thought it was necessary to become a minister and preach the Word and save souls in order for me to be saved. The truth is there are a lot of needs in the church and to fill those needs it only is necessary that we do simple acts of obedience with love. It is not necessary to preach to people because most of your sermon doesn’t come from your words but from your actions. God sees and knows this and it is exactly why He equipped us with a ready, willing and healthy spirit – His Spirit, in fact, so that we could help those in need.
There isn’t some special knowledge that God endows us with that imparts upon us favor. Belief begins and ends with God so that God gets all the glory. He gives us faith and our gifts are exactly that, gifts. This makes it so people can’t boast that they have some sort of special knowledge that saves them. I believe this is called Gnosticism. It’s really just a tactic of the devil to keep us tied up in knots. When we’re constantly trying to be good we are so focused on ourselves in striving, it’s exhausting. No one is able to be helpful when they’re physically and psychologically exhausted. Striving is of the flesh and it causes jealousy, selfish ambition and strife between people. None of that is necessary. God doesn’t need our help to do His work but he blesses us with His Spirit so that we can share in His joy.
The devil puts us down, he wears us down, and he has many faces. Once you realize that he has many faces and can fill anybody at any time you start to understand how serious the battle is. If you don’t have God’s spirit you will be defeated. By nature we are little more than worms. But with God’s Spirit we really can do anything. A tactic I have learned to help me cope with the ups and downs and subtle discouragements that come is to stay positive and never give up. When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. He’s very insecure so he will point out your weaknesses in order to destroy your confidence. He will try to humiliate you into not sharing your testimony. But don’t doubt the progress God has made in you. You may have made mistakes but none are so serious that they can’t be forgiven.
You are important to God and He loves you. He would never hurt or discourage you into feeling defeated. Also, God has promised to never leave or forsake His children. That is a promise that you can believe in. Remember the Israelites were stuck in the desert for 40 years traveling around the same mountain on a journey that technically should have only taken 11 days. God prepares us thoroughly for the promise land as He did the Israelites. He wants to bless us abundantly but we have to be ready for it so that we don’t slip into forms of idolatry once we arrive. Things may look bleak but don’t give up because God has promised not to give up on you.
Now, I am a queen of “what-if” questions. If there is a subtle possibility of there being a loophole in God’s promise, I have tried to find it. Honestly, with all my experience and research I’ve only found it to be true that God’s promise remains one-hundred percent foolproof. If any of His children could fall or be snatched from His hand His promise would be void. I am one such example of the tried and true promise. I thought I would go to hell because of the mistakes I made while saved. But that is a fear that comes from the pit not from God. Your church may even give up on you but God won’t. He can and will use everyone He’s called to fulfill His purpose.
If I believed that liar that is the devil I’d believe I was going to hell for leaving church early on Sunday or for swearing in my mind. The truth is that the devil knows how to make us feel guilty because it’s all that he feels (that and fear). He will project his guilt onto anyone that will accept the blame. We just have to remember that Christ’s sacrifice was enough to save the worst sinner. If it wasn’t, what good would it be? We’re all destined for hell without Christ because the Bible says “no one is good.” Don’t let people shame or dirty look you into thinking you’re worthless. You’re not. Also, God is not a respecter of persons that some people would be holier than others due to their profession, deeds or special knowledge. Don’t let people brow beat you. You are just as valuable as they are to God.