@Samuel_95, You know, I will join you and say I’m a hypocrite as well - I easily fall into trap of standing with the Pharasees and get ready to throw stones at the lady caught in adultury - when the fact is I have lust in my own heart; and Jesus says to us ‘he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone’. I think your honesty is refreshing and how you are asking geunine questions about your struggles is encouraging to me also.
What’s amazing about the Gospel is that Jesus died for everyone, including me with all my brokeness, lust, sin and hypocrisy. Do I need a Saviour? YES! If I’m really honest with what’s going on in my own heart, it’s a mess, and only Jesus can sort out that mess. There’s no way I can do this on my own; I need God’s help with it all. The amazing news is we don’t have to clean up our act before coming to Jesus; we do have to humble ourselves before Him though - that’s the hardest part.
You mentioned one aspect that no-one has discussed yet; the area of broken dreams or dissapointment in lack of answers to prayer. I recall John Lennox, one of my favourite speakers, ask a new question in the midst of lifes hurts and pains and disapointments.
He asked ‘What is God doing on a cross, suffering at the hands of His creation?’. To slow down and contemplate this deeply really stops me in my tracks.
You know, if we’re honest, we all experience times when God feels a long way away, times when God seems absent or reading the Bible seems difficult. I think a lot of Christians we see at church that seem to have it all together are pretending a lot of the time - most people find it too painful to be honest at church; myself included.
A message series that was an encouragement to me and that might be of interest is from Andy Stanley; entitled ‘Who Needs God’. In part two of the six part series he addresses some of the things that really cause us to struggle, and can cause us to ask harder questions of our faith. I grew up in a Christian environment; and have been through similar struggles. The message series finishes with a great verse from the book of James (as has been mentioned);
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. “
Grew up in a Christian environment
Experienced a childhood conversion
Transitioned to an irreligious environment and you liked it!
Experienced a faith crushing event, and began asking adult type questions of your childhood faith…
Received faith-based answers to your fact-based questions.
he speaks of the gods that we grew up with, that do not exist, and we should not believe in any more.
‘Bodyguard god’, God exists to protect us from all bad; when actually bad things happen to good people all the time
‘on-demand god’, god responds to fair and selfless requests in a way we expect; you ask for a answer and heard nothing
‘boyfriend/girlfriend god’, god’s precense that is always felt, when the fact is the things that are most constant are the things we are least aware of.
‘guilt god’, controls you through guilt and fear; if it’s enjoyable the answer is no.
‘anti-science god’, where you are forced to choose between undeniable science and unreliable religion; God or science is a false alternative
‘gap-god’, God convenietly shows up as an explanation for everything we can’t explain.
Hopefully a few helpful thoughts - praying for you mate!