Have you been having trouble staying focused on God? Do you keep giving in to sin and temptations? Do you have a hard time getting back on track with your faith? Do you see yourself failing God time and time again? Are you frustrated at yourself and want to change? If so, be encouraged that this conviction means that you haven't given up yet—and this is a good thing!
The life of a Christian is a journey of ups and downs and twists and turns. Sometimes we will feel super close to God, and other times, we feel totally alone. It's OK though; that's a part of walking the journey. Every step we take, whether it is forward or backward, is an opportunity to grow in our faith.
"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." —Romans 5:3-5
I have good news for you: there is no such thing as a perfect Christian. Christians do sin and will continue to sin (1 John 1:8). However, the Christian life should not be identified by a life of willful sin. (That is, knowing you're going to sin, doing it anyway, then feeling no remorse afterward.) As believers, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have the Holy Spirit inside of us to help us produce good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). A Christian life should be a changed life—or at least one where we desire change and aim for becoming more like Christ.
No one is perfect or will be able to do this Christ-following thing without making mistakes. But we can take heart that we will be forgiven no matter how many times we mess up. At the same time, our goal should always be to become more holy and to grow closer to Christ. It's a messy conundrum, but God is big enough to handle our messiness.
Over time, it is possible to develop a mindset where you realize that God is always there for you—even when you feel lonely or abandoned. You can come to depend on Him as a given in your life. He is a constant presence to whom you can turn at any time, 24/7. The way to keep God at the forefront of your mind is to keep in touch with Him—just like you would with any friend you want to remain close to.
Pray to Him, read His words in the Bible, look for how He is working in your life and take note of those times. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ." 1 Peter 2:2-3 says we must, “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it [we] may grow up in [our] salvation, now that [we] have tasted that the Lord is good.”
You know in your heart that God is good. Hopefully, you've experienced that, and in your mind, you realize the Truth. Now is the time to live it out day to day.
We can't be on a spiritual high all the time; life just doesn't work that way. We get excited about something for a while, then the excitement fades. But the Truth about God still remains. The work of the journey is remembering and reminding ourselves of the wonders of God and His love and the benefits of living our lives for Him.
You CAN do this. Getting closer to God is not as hard as you think, but remember that it's a daily process, so take it one moment at a time.
The life of a Christian is a journey of ups and downs and twists and turns. No one is perfect or will be able to do this Christ-following thing without making mistakes. But as long as we are struggling and fighting for our faith, we're on the right track. God will forgive us no matter how many times we mess up. At the same time, our goal should always be to become more holy and to grow closer to Christ.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.