10 Misconceptions of Christians

excerpts taken from an About.com post
by Mary Fairchild

Christians quite often have misconceptions about God, the Christian life and other believers. This look at the common misconceptions of Christianity is designed to dispel some of the myths that typically hinder Christians from growing and maturing in the faith.

#1 Once you become a Christian, God will solve all of your problems.

Many Christians are shocked when the first trial or serious crisis hits. Here’s a reality check — get prepared — the Christian life is not always easy! You will still face ups and downs, challenges and joys. You will have problems and troubles to overcome. This verse offers encouragement for Christians facing difficult situations:

1 Peter 4:12-13 (King James Version)
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

#2 Becoming a Christian means giving up all fun and following a life of rules.

A joyless existence of mere rule-following is not true Christianity and the abundant life God intends for you. Rather, this describes a man-made experience of legalism. God has amazing adventures planned for you. These verses give a description of what it means to experience God’s life:

Romans 14:16-18 (King James Version)
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (King James Version)
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

#3 All Christians are loving, perfect people.

Well, it doesn’t take very long to discover that this is not true. But being prepared to meet the imperfections and failures of your new family in Christ can spare you future pain and disillusionment. Although Christians strive to be like Christ, we will never obtain complete sanctification until we stand before the Lord. In fact, God uses our imperfections to “grow us” in the faith. If not, there would be no need to forgive one another.

As we learn to live in harmony with our new family, we rub each other like sandpaper. It’s painful at times, but the result brings about a smoothing and softening to our rough edges.

Colossians 3:13 (King James Version)
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Philippians 3:12-13 (King James Version)
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

#4 Bad things don’t happen to truly godly Christians.

This point goes along with point number one, however, the focus is slightly different. Often Christians begin to wrongly believe that if they live a godly Christian life, God will protect them from pain and suffering. Paul, a hero of the faith, suffered much:

2 Corinthians 11:24-26 (King James Version)
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

Some faith groups believe the Bible promises health, wealth and prosperity for all who live a godly life. But this teaching is false. Jesus never taught this to his followers. You may experience these blessings in your life, but they are not a reward for godly living. At times we experience tragedy, pain and loss in life. This is not always a result of sin, as some would claim, but rather, for a greater purpose that we may not understand immediately. We may never understand, but we can trust God in these difficult times, and know he has a purpose.

Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (King James Version)
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

#5 Christian ministers and missionaries are more spiritual than other believers.

This is a subtle but persistent misconception that we carry in our minds as believers. Because of this false notion, we end up putting ministers and missionaries on “spiritual pedestals” accompanied by unrealistic expectations. When one of these heroes falls from our self-constructed perch, it tends to make us fall too — away from God. Don’t let this happen in your life. You may have to continually guard yourself against this subtle deception.

Paul, Timothy’s spiritual father, taught him this truth – we are all sinners on an equal playing field with God and each other:

1 Timothy 1:15-16 (King James Version)
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

#6 Christian churches are always safe places, where you can trust everyone.

Although this should be true, it is not. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world where evil resides. Not everyone who enters the church has honorable intentions, and even some who do come with good intentions can fall back into old patterns of sin. One of the most dangerous places in Christian churches, if not properly guarded, is the children’s ministry. Churches that don’t implement background checks, team led classrooms, and other security measures, leave themselves open to many dangerous threats.

1 Peter 5:8 (King James Version)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Matthew 10:16 (King James Version)
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

#7 Christians should never say anything that might offend someone or hurt someone else’s feelings.

Many believers have a wrong understanding of meekness and humility. The idea of godly meekness involves having strength and courage, but the kind of strength that is submitted to God’s control. True humility recognizes complete dependence upon God and knows we have no goodness except that which is found in Christ. Sometimes our love for God and our fellow Christians, and obedience to God’s Word compels us to speak words that may hurt someone’s feelings or offend them. Some people call this “tough love.”

Ephesians 4:14-15 (King James Version)
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Proverbs 27:6 (King James Version)
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

#8 As a Christian you should not associate with unbelievers.

I am always saddened when I hear so called “seasoned” believers teaching this false notion to Christians. Yes, it is true that you may have to break off some of the unhealthy relationships you have had with people from your past life of sin. At least for awhile you may need to do this until you are strong enough to resist the temptations of your old lifestyle. However, Jesus, our example, made it his mission (and ours) to associate with sinners. How will we attract those who need a Savior, if we don’t build relationships with them?

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (King James Version)
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

#9 Christians should not enjoy any earthly pleasures.

I believe God created all of the good, wholesome, enjoyable, and fun things we have on this earth as a blessing for us to enjoy. The key is not holding on to these earthly things too tightly. We should grasp and enjoy our blessings with our palms held open and tilted up.

Job 1:21 (King James Version)
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

#10 Christians always feel close to God.

As a Christian you may feel very close to God. Your eyes have just been opened to a brand new, exciting life with God. However, you should be prepared for dry seasons in your walk with God. They are bound to come. A life-long walk of faith requires trust and commitment even when you don’t feel close to God. In these verses, David expresses sacrifices of praise to God in the midst of spiritual times of drought:

Psalm 63:1 (King James Version)
1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Psalm 42:1-3 (King James Version)
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

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