5 Things Raised-Christian People Miss Out On
A couple days ago, I was filling out a sheet which had slots for things like the character’s lie and truth as well as, of course, backstory. I had the character’s faults, the lies he tells himself, and the truth he needs to learn …
But why? Why does he act like that? I needed a backstory. After all, without a proper motivation, there was no reason for his behavior. This is quite important in a story world because otherwise the reader feels that the character is directionless and unreal.
At last I laughed and wrote in the backstory slot: “a proper Christian upbringing.” Well. That’s worth the discussion, I think.
Why would David, without a tragic backstory, even have a problem?
You see, all my character David needed for this particular lie was to learn it through application. And what better way to learn something than through the people who raised you?
David has a legalistic view of the world, that there are some sins that make one so dirty and empty that you can’t come back.
And the thing is … he knows better. It’s his heart, not his mind, that’s caught in that lie. That endlessly convicts him, without grace, and does the same to others. (I wrote a post about this earlier, sort of.)
The lies of, “This is how far you can go without losing God’s love” and “I would never do something so bad!” somehow got communicated to him even though they’re not Christian ideas.
Raised Christian … but that doesn’t mean you are one.
Now, I was raised in a strong Christian family like David. I bet many of you are. Now, I could technically say I’ve been a Christian since I can remember, but realistically, it was just about my family until I was thirteen or fourteen.
I believe that is true of many young Christians who were raised in a Christian household. They don’t take it as their own – at least not right off – and it ends up kinda messy.
You have to take God for yourself. He can’t be your parents’ God, your grandparents’ God, or your church’s God. Just yours.
One of my favorite Bible characters, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples, John, has an extraordinary perspective. Throughout the book of John, he refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
That’s the kind of ownership of Jesus Christ, or rather being owned by Jesus Christ, that we ought to embrace! An “I am the one He loves” kind of thought process.
Is Being a Raised a Christian a Blessing?
In my way of thinking at least, being raised a Christian is one of the most amazing blessings ever. It means you are equipped and supported by your family. It makes lots of things so much easier …
… but it can also become a crutch. Raised-Christian people miss out on so many things that people who come to the faith in other ways naturally gain.
And we have to watch and make sure those things aren’t a crutch, but rather something we’re aware of.
So without further ado,
5 Things Raised-Christian People Miss Out On
1: Coming to God and finding Him for yourself.
Yes, eventually you absolutely have to make God your own separate from your family and church. But you don’t get to find Him for yourself originally.
I know I’m not the only one who’s wondered, “Would I even have found God, would I even be a Christian without my family?”
If you’re wondering: yes, probably. Though we never know “what if,” we do know that if God wants you, He’ll get you! But it’s hard not to wonder.
2: Being a “child of God” (but not really) straight off.
Most Christians start off as grandchildren, ushered into God’s presence by their parents, often unwillingly. However, there are no grandchildren in Heaven. We’re all children of God, and He doesn’t have a special place set aside for the earthly babies of those who chose Him.
But it can be easy to fall into passivity or never make God yours as an automatic “grandchild.” You have to take steps to become a child of God. You don’t start out there.
3: You never get to start from scratch.
A former non-Christian coming to God for the first time gets to work everything out for himself. Yeah, he might get lost, but he also doesn’t have a bunch of preconceived notions and lies to work through. (And sometimes, even a lot of the time, Christians are raised to believe things that just aren’t Christian.)
I oftentimes wonder if I really have as much of an open mind while studying the Bible or evidence about Creation or other things like that. I believe I do my best. But it would be cool to start from scratch or disprove anti-God beliefs rather than simply starting with the truth and discovering it!
4: You don’t experience it as a miracle.
I don’t know about you, but I was never really awed by Christianity as a child. It was just … the truth. Christianity was just my life. It wasn’t new or impressive or exciting.
In fact, I still find church, still find Christian music, still find sermons ridiculously boring. There’s nothing new there, and I adore new things!
I believe this is one of the biggest problems long-time Christians face. It’s not a miracle anymore if it ever was.
Yet it is a miracle – it is amazing that Jesus Christ died for our sins! Yet it’s so hard for even a child to experience that wonder when they were raised in a household where that is old news.
Miracles were so commonplace to me that they weren’t impressive. And that’s not good!
5: Rebelling but not knowing it.
Okay, this one is a bit more silly than the others, but it’s still kinda true!
When you were raised in a (real) Christian home and you rebel, you’re not really a lost soul. You’re just a hypocrite.
Furthermore, as a Christian, when you rebel, you know you’re rebelling! You know you’re sinning, you know it’s not all right. There’s no illusion there.
And though this is a GOOD thing, it’s also an annoying thing, because you cannot get away with murder.
Your parents would kill you. You’d be convicted!
So yep. That’s not fun! ?
So that’s it for my 5 things raised-Christian people miss out on! This wasn’t my best post, but I’d been thinking about it as I wrote about my character David (who is really a swell guy, honestly).
Well … what do you think? Do you agree with me or do you think there are no disadvantages to being raised in a Christian household? Were you raised Christian or did you come to the faith some other way?
Great post! I somewhat agree and somewhat disagree. I understand and relate to your points (especially the journey of God drawing us to Homself without family or “from scratch,”), yet also I believe that it’s definitely possible for those raised in a Christian home to have 1, 2, and 4 (though not everyone does/did), and we are far better off NOT having 3 and 5! 4 is especially powerful though. At the very least, one’s personal journey intimately knowing God will continually rediscover that wonder and amazingness. There will always be dry seasons of course, but the more we know Him, the more amazing newness about Him we find! (Ever read a bible chapter you know you’ve read a hundred times before and wondered how on earth *that* verse got in there because you’re sure you’ve never read it before?! *raises hand*)
That said, those raised in a Christian home – a right one – DO experience that wonder at the initial newness. You just don’t remember it! Like you said, it’s “always just been that way” – always been truth – in our minds as far as we remember – but I’m currently experiencing that initial wonder with my young children, and it’s AMAZING. What’s more, it’s combined with the freshness of innocent childhood… no, my children won’t remember it, but I will. I think God blesses us with that on purpose: rediscovering wonder through our children’s eyes. What a gift. ?
I’d say it definitely depends on the person (as well as the family, tbh), so not EVERYONE experiences the possible downfalls, but it is there – and is something to be aware of, at least! Or that’s my way of seeing it.
I honestly don’t believe I did experience that newness – I was very annoyed with Christianity all my life but didn’t want to go to Hell, so I didn’t see another option and just said, “all right, I’m a Christian because Heaven.” 😛 Mostly because it was associated with church for me, and I hate church with a passion. 😉 That and having our parents force us to read the Bible or pray before we watched TV, which was literally the only time we ever got with Dad (his job is awful), so it was annoying. The only time I ever really liked God (as a kid) was when I got by myself and went on walks or spent time with animals – and I liked being good at memorizing Bible verses because it made me feel smart (<< all the worldly things, basically). Otherwise, I found it to be a huge, pleasure-preventing, time-taking pain. 😛 It probably sounds like I was a brat, haha, but really, everyone talks about how I was such a great kid - and then around when I was thirteen or fourteen and REALLY became a Christian, everyone talks about how their was a sudden transformation (e.g. puberty) and suddenly I wasn't their sweet little girl ... Weird. I feel like my insides became Christian but my behavior quit showing I was a Christian simultaneously, which makes absolutely no sense ... Anyway, just random stuff.
That last one ? “Your parents would kill you.” Because that is the important problem here
RIGHT?! 😛 Can’t mess with them …
I do often wonder how I might approach Christianity if I didn’t come from the family I did. But since God knows everything, He also knew how to put families (and therefore children of Christian parents) together. It was His plan to make us the children of Christian parents, so we could be raised in a Christ-centered culture. To me, that makes the advantages far outweigh the things we “miss out on”! (In fact, all those worldly things Christians, or maybe “sheltered homeschoolers” miss out on? I don’t miss them at all)
Yep, for sure!
Years ago, I was in a class at the homeschooling convention we go to every year, it was the first day so everyone was introducing themselves. To help get everyone more relaxed and talking, the teacher asked each person in turn to share their Testimony. When it came to me, I didn’t say anything, just sorta shrugged, the teacher asked me if I was saved and I assured her I was, but I still wouldn’t give my testimony – I mean, what could I say??? I never had some huge miraculous realization, there was no wowing journey that brought me to my knees, no incredible prompting as you hear of in the stories. I just always knew the truth, and I always believed in God and the Bible. And one night I said a prayer, simple as that. I just, “got saved” nothing more nothing less.
What was there to say?????
I went for years, wishing I had a meaningful, moving, awe-inspiring testimony that showed God’s true greatness. I wanted a testimony that when people heard it, their lives were changed — just like all the ones in the stories and sermons. I wanted a heart-moving salvation story. Not just, “I got saved” or “I was raised a Christian”! I wished I could be one of those “terribly lost sinners” out there who was downright hopeless, but by God’s great power was saved and my life transformed.
But I wasn’t.
I was raised in a Christian home, I never rebelled against our belief, I never hated God as some people’s testimonies tell, I never questioned His existence. I always knew what I was taught was the truth, and if it was the truth, there was no questioning it. When I was saved, I was saved – there was no, “I didn’t really mean it” years later. And that, frustrated me, because I wanted to be able to shout from the rooftops how awesome my God is and say “SEE what He did for me?!!”
But not too long ago, it hit me.
(How do I put this into words??) ……. What makes a testimony AMAZING, is not how you come to being saved, it is the plain fact that you are saved from the beginning! Once you grasp how truly MINDBLOWING INCREDIBLE it is to actually be loved, and forgiven, and adopted into God’s family. Just WOW. And I’m not talking about knowing it in your head, I’m talking about realizing it in your heart.
My testimony? Its not just “oh, y’know, one night I said a prayer and then I was saved.” NOPE, my testimony is that JESUS actually loves me enough that He DIED and rose again, and brought my heart to Him at a young age. I don’t need to be brought away from the world in some miraculous feat, because its a MIRACLE plain in itself that I am saved at all! Because folks, I don’t care how you’re raised, you have the same capacity to end up doing bad things as anyone. When it comes down to it, we’re all hopeless sinners – yet everyday, God continues to love us.
And I know I’m not really doing a good job at explaining it, and that’s because there really aren’t words for it – its a feeling, when you finally truly realize it, and its the greatest feeling in the world.
One other thing is, I think, we who are raised in a Christian home… I agree that we do see things, that others would be awed at, as “normal” and the thing is, because of this we tend to overlook the amazing things God is doing in our lives, especially if we’re busy looking at other people’s testimonies and such. But you know, that’s not the fault of the way we were brought up – not exactly, its actually our fault. I let myself stop seeing the WOW in the things God does in my life, I did that. And lately, I have also chosen to see God’s greatness as it really is – and its been a journey, trust me, a very long journey filled with lots of prayer. But God got me excited again for the things He does – little or big. And does it make me sound like one of those preachy, insane folks nobody likes? Probably. Do I care? You know what, no, because its real – and its true. Our God is AMAZINGLY INCREDIBLE and there just aren’t words to express how awesome He is. Too often people (including myself) fail to grasp the truly amazingness in the things God does and in who He is.
My life? Its a miracle, a miracle that God actually saved me, a miracle that He’s brought me through all the inner problems I had/have, a miracle that He has opened my eyes to see His greatness, a miracle that I was born in a Christian family, a miracle — that I have the testimony I have today — because the importance or the incredibleness of your testimony – of my testimony, it doesn’t rely on HOW we come to being saved or exactly how our lives are changed (if any) on the outside, its the fact that Jesus SAVED YOU and that He saved ME.
Honestly words don’t do it all justice (which is why I firmly believe we need Nadine Brandes’ out of time series’ emotion devices that allows others to feel what you’re feeling XD lol ). Aaaand none of that up there probably makes sense or is relevant to this post, but… oh well………
*peers up at post* Welp, that’s my wordcount for the day.
THIS. All of this. Amen. Thanks for saying this.
YES. This is great! And I can definitely relate to this. Even when we’ve grown up in a Christian home all our lives, we don’t have a less amazing testimony! Just the fact that we were so blessed to have grown up knowing God’s love for us all our lives is a testimony in and of itself. And you’re right, it’s not just HOW we came to accept Christ, just the whole fact that He even DID save us at all, despite our sin, flaws, etc. is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING… and we should start recognizing it as such!!
Well, Julia, I think your words did about the best job that one can do. That, as weird as it may sound, is a great testimony!
How can I leave more likes on this comment? I want to! This was me, man, feeling the shame of having a “boring testimony”. And then realizing the beauty of it. Not better or worse than anyone else’s, but beautiful.
That’s a good way of seeing it!
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this post. I understand the heart behind it but for me it reminds me of a period in my life where I was terrified I was going to walk away from God as an adult – I was 8-11 at this time. And honestly? I don’t miss any of this stuff. My faith and testimony is just as valid as someone who has rebelled for so long and come back. I rejoice when they come home but I don’t wish to be them. I love the church, the church has been good to me. It has been my shelter for years, this gathering of imperfects worshipping holiness. So honestly? I miss none of these things and I don’t wish them on anyone. I understand where you’re coming from and it makes sense, but for me, I’d disagree with it in my life. But good on you, writing things that are authentic to you and that you have thoughts about 🙂
Yep, it’s not a part of anyone’s life, but it is something to be aware of.
Interesting topic! I guess this is a kind of thing that we raised Christians need to know real well if we’re ever going to do what God has called us to do. However, I think that raised Christians can still gain that feeling of wonder and joy that comes from a lost soul going back to Jesus– that is, when we influence an unbeliever the way we were commanded to do. That’s the kind of thing we raised Christians should aim for, in my belief. :)))
I’ve never had much of a heart for ministry, but I can see that, I suppose!