Summary: Common disappointments that new Christians face often bring discouragement to the point of giving up.
Iliff and Saltillo UM churches
August 29, 2004
“Disappointments New Christians Face”
INTRODUCTION: Think back to the time when you first came to the Lord and made your decision to become a Christian. You might have been a little child in Sunday school. It may have been when you were a teenager at church camp, or later on as an adult. It could have been a sudden and dramatic experience where you felt the load of sin and guilt lift off of you in such a way that it was overwhelming to say the least. Or it could have been a gradual experience--steady and sure--but you realized that a transformation was taking place.
Look back to that time--then and now. Has your Christian experience been all smooth sailing? All joy? All uphill with no disappointments?
In today’s scriptures both Peter and James speak about disappointments especially that new Christians face. Although we all face disappointments as we go through our Christian journey, sometimes the disappointments seem more overwhelming for anyone new in their faith. Problems and disappointments not only overwhelm us but some even fall by the wayside and give up--some quit going to church altogether and say, “I just can’t make it. It’s no use. I just give up... Things are a mess.”
Peter and James wanted to help people understand some of the disappointments that they would face and help them to progress in their faith rather than to become a “spiritual drop out.”
Peter is connecting with the people when he says, “I know how you feel when you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.” But he goes on to say, “Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it PROVED to be pure. Genuine faith put through this suffering comes out PROVED genuine” (Message Bible I Peter 1:6-9).
James follows up this same idea by saying, “Count it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed--not deficient in any way” (Message Bible, James 1:2-4).
These two writers are telling us that we will face disappointments when we become a Christian, but it is not necessarily a bad thing for it only serves to test our faith and to show that it is genuine. The hassles we go through serve their purpose--to help us become strong and mature in our faith.
STORY: Justin had two goals in life. One was to have fun and the other was to do nothing. According to his Mother, he does both quite well. He headed for the school bus one fall morning and a few minutes later, he was back at the front door.
His mother opened the door and saw Justin standing there. She demanded to know why he was not on the bus.
He said, “I’ve quit school.”
“Quit school,” she repeated in disbelief. “Why have you quit school?”
Without hesitation the six-year old dropout said, “It’s too long, it’s too hard, and it’s too boring!”
“Justin,” his Mother said firmly, “You have just described life! Now get back on that bus!”