I was thinking the other day: I've been a christian for five years now! Five is a long time. At least to me.
So I thought I would postulate on the five things I feel I've learned these past five years.
1) Everything I know about God is wrong.
Okay, so I know I'm a Christian now. But that first year--I feel like I had to unlearn more than I learned. Because there was so many expectations, misconceptions and lies about God and Christianity that I internalized over the years. I had to throw it all out the window and start from scratch by reading the bible and learning what God actually has to say. I'm still learning. But realizing my foundations of what I thought God was were wrong was very traumatic for me. I cried a lot. I questioned a lot. It was very healing and very hard.
2) Christians are very diverse and this is frustrating
Three or so years into my Christian walk I realized that the religion of Christianity is extremely diverse. I mean, I've seen arguments in Christian Facebook groups about the timeline of the tribulation. I've had heated discussions in my church about Calvinism (you are saved forever) and Arminianism (you can lose your salvation). I've seen people throwing out the exact same verses out to support one or the other. We fallen humans do not have the "key" to understanding the bible. So we have to guess sometimes, or assume, or even postulate--because some things are just not black and white. Or are they? Because for each questions you'll find one Christian that thinks it is obvious while another says it cannot be discerned. Add in another Christian who believes the exact opposite and arrive at the conundrum that is Christianity.
This is really frustrating for me as a young Christian. I hate the bickering and fighting among people who should get along. But we can't agree, we won't agree, and that is okay and also hard to accept at times. I...I count myself blessed that I have a God who knows the truth, who knows what is right and what is not--even if I mistakenly infer otherwise. I put my faith in Him to work it out all out even as I blunder around seeking answers. And if the answer can't be found? I trust in the wisdom that He has given me to make whatever decision I need to make. I will make mistakes. I am not perfect. Nor do I know the truth, or even pretend to be able to discern doctrine that Christians have been arguing about since the bible was written.
3) I let God down every day.
I am sinful. Salvation did not erase my sin nature, I still struggle with my own selfish wants and desires. I wish I had a pair of glasses that would let me see the world the way God does, so I could follow him easier. My own eyes see only a limited skyline, and my vision is continually distracted by my own finite, sinful attitude. I have never been more aware of my need for God's cleansing salvation. (If you are one of those Christians that believe you cease to sin after salvation, please reread point two above...and your bible.)
4) My life has been significantly altered by my salvation
I don't know how to accurately describe this point other then what I've stated. I see a huge difference in my spirit and my heart, my conscious and my compassion. I am not perfect, but I can tell God is at work in my life and in my heart. I can tell I belong to Him. I feel a joy in the depths of my soul that I know is rooted in God.
5) The mysteries of the bible are never-ending
There is so much in the bible to learn and read that I will never, even if I dedicated my entire life to biblical research--come to a complete understanding of God's word. This both awes and frightens me.
So that's what I've learned in my first five years of following God.
What have you learned? Was your first five years like mine, or different?