The Rub of the Christian Cliche’

I’ve been involved in church since I was 5 years old.  I “got saved” in VBS by “asking Jesus into my heart”.  I acknowledged “Jesus is Lord” and “repented” of “sins.”  I didn’t fully understand all of those phrases I spoken to me at that time.  I did fully believe there was a God, Jesus was his son and I could go to heaven when I died.

It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade when my family actually began “attending” a “church” on Sundays.  Since then I have been actively involved in different churches.  I have been in various degrees of leadership including being a Youth Pastor for the last 15 years.  I fully believe that God created heaven and earth and that he sent his son Jesus to save the world.  I believe in the Bible and what it says.  I have tested and experienced God first hand in my life in a variety of ways.  I still come back to the conclusion that what God says and has happened he is real, alive and still at work today.

Through all the churches I have attended I noticed that the same phrases have been used over and over.   We who are believers speak a different language and use phrases (those above I put in quotations) and say things those who don’t go to church or haven’t experienced church have no clue as to what we are saying.  The following is a list of words or phrases I put together of what I have said as well as continue to hear to this day:

  • Ask Jesus into your heart
  • Amen
  • Authentic
  • Bible-believing
  • Born-again
  • Can I get a witness?
  • Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven
  • Community
  • Creation-Care
  • Doing life together
  • Emergent
  • Feeding on the Word
  • Fellowship
  • God is in control
  • Hate the sin, love the sinner
  • Head of the house
  • Here’s my testimony
  • His pain, your gain!
  • How can I pray for you?
  • If you die tonight do you know where you will go?
  • I’m a child of God
  • Impact
  • In His Grip
  • Intentional
  • Jesus loves you
  • Jesus is my homeboy
  • Jesus Saves
  • Living in sin
  • Live that out
  • Lord willing
  • Missional
  • Post Modern
  • Pray harder
  • Read your bible
  • Relational
  • Redemption
  • Repent
  • Relevant
  • Salt and light
  • Say a blessing over the food
  • Small groups
  • Thank you Jesus/Praise Jesus
  • Transparent
  • We’re in the end times
  • What’s God doing in your life?

There’s a lot more I have heard but this is a pretty comprehensive list.  As I look at this list and think to myself of how many times I have used these, I am actually pretty sad.  By using these words and phrases I have given the appearance I know what I am talking about, I have it all together and that I am in this amazing relationship with God.

I’ve been told, trained and even told others how to have a relationship with God the things you must do.  Pray, pursue him; read the bible, go to church, seek out like-minded believers and you will become Christ-like.   I’ve been taught that true repentance means changing my heart.  To work out my faith with fear and trembling.  As I allow God to work in my life I will be changed and transformed into a man of God.

As I have walked with God, pursued him as well as said these things there are days where none of it seems real or feels right.  To be honest, at 40 years old I feel in some sense that I am a fake, phony and living a lie.  I am not nice every single day of my life.  I am envious and jealous. I struggle with sexual purity and lust.  I have terrible wicked thoughts running through my mind.  I am critical and judgmental about others.  I don’t always see the good in others or the situation.  I jump to conclusions and I tend to be short-tempered and unfair.  I struggle to truly love my wife and at times love my kids more than my wife.  It’s easier to love my kids and want to be around them when they do what I want and aren’t being rebellious.  I want to scream, yell and curse at people who annoy me or tell them off.  I can wear masks and act differently in different settings.  I want to be liked, loved and desired.  I want my ideas and ways acknowledged and have my way be right all the time. There are attitudes and actions I have done since I was a boy that I still do to this day.  I often try to surrender my will to God and give up control but 5 minutes later I take it all back and use my intellect to control my life. There are days I think I will never make it to heaven with all of this.

I bet looking at me you wouldn’t know any of this or even have a clue these thoughts were running through my mind.  Because I call myself and Christian and follow God it is assumed these things should not be a part of my life and that somehow all of this is no longer a part of who I am.  Yes I do believe in God and yes I do believe he is changing me.  I will never have it altogether and I will never be perfect at least not here.  Someday things will be much better and my ultimate hope lies in Jesus coming back and taking me to heaven.

All those words and phrases have impacted me and they have made me realize I need to remove these words and phrases from my vocabulary.  How in the world can I relate to the world and live out what I believe with every part of me if I just can’t be real, honest and talk in a normal way. Being real and honest in the Christian realm often means facing rejection, but what’s worse being real or being rejected?



About Chris Goforth

West Coast Hipster Ninja husband and Papa- allowing Jesus to impact every aspect of my life while raising 6 kids, taking photos, being outdoors & playing Settles of Catan. View all posts by Chris Goforth

2 responses to “The Rub of the Christian Cliche’

  • Scotty

    Nice post … keep swimming UPSTREAM bro!

  • Randy M. Olson

    Chris, I knew(we all knew) you and every other “Christian” had those thoughts, struggles, and worse, because I do, also. Although we are each unique we are all human in desperate need. You are right we need to take off our masks and live real and honestly with all humanity in our hope.
    Thank you.

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