False news is now a common phrase. What about false religion such as - I have heard it said that once you become a Christian all your troubles vanish. You will get the job and house you've always dreamed of, your pockets will be filled with money and you will never go hungry. People hear such statements and begin to attend church with the hope that all their problems will go away. Vulnerable communities such as the poor and marginalised may be drawn to such theories due to their difficult circumstances. Others are simply attracted to the idea for their own materialistic gain.
Building false hope
Does becoming a Christian truly mean that all your troubles will disappear? The problem I have with such statements is that they deceive people and give them a false hope. Instead of pointing people to the truth of the gospel, it leads them astray. Such deceiving statements also lead to churches filling up with people that are there for the wrong reasons. True conversion to Christianity becomes questionable - are people sincerely giving their lives to Christ or are they in it for the “goody bag”?
Is this the true gospel?
If we are lead to believe that a “goody bag” is the main reason why we need to become a Christian, then we have been misled. The essence of the gospel is the love of God. There needs to be an acknowledgement and understanding that we are sinners and require forgiveness. If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from dead, we will be saved (Romans chapter 10, verses 9-10). This is the infinite blessing. Through Christ, we can have eternal life.
I know some people may argue that such “trouble ending” statements gets people to attend church where they will eventually hear the gospel. But my question is this: did Jesus deceive in order to get people to become his disciples or did he just simply tell them the truth? Is there any joy in deceit?
Is Christianity the answer?
The truth should be spoken. It's great when people find solace in a church. It is the responsibility of the body of Christ to create spaces where people can confidently come, feel welcomed and get the assistance they need. Doing so with biblical guidance of course. My hope is that churches today will be filled with people that are truly living for and seeking God. The good thing is that it is not too late to seek the meaning of the gospel. Even for those that have never truly understood it.
Christianity may not provide a quick fix to life's problems. It does however address the root of a lot of our problems - sin (pride, greed, sexual immorality, jealousy, deceit, theft, idolatry etc.). When we surrender our lives to Christ, it changes us on the inside. We live in this troubled world, but have our eyes focused on God and we begin to see things in a different perspective. The word of God gives us eternal hope and helps us deal with the issues in our lives.
I am not saying that God can't or won't provide for our needs (e.g. getting a job, provide shelter and food, finances), but this shouldn't be the sole purpose for becoming a Christian. We need to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto us (Matthew chapter 6 verse 33).
Being a Christian can be challenging sometimes
God didn't promise that our lives will be trouble free, but he did promise to never leave us nor forsake us. He will lighten our burdens because he cares for us. The Christian walk isn't always easy. I have been blessed in many ways and I still face many challenges today. I still get disappointed at times and my life hasn't turned out the way I thought it would. I have had to live with the consequences of some of the choices I have made in the past. But I still hope in the Lord and trust that He will see me through.
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast. She is passionate about the Word of God and hopes her life testifies of the amazing love of Jesus Christ.
Kandima Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html