Why are Christians so Miserable?
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Acts 16:25 KJV) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
If there is one strange phenomenon skulking around Christianity today, it is the fact that many Christians are miserable. With what God has done for the Christian, we should be the most joyous people on earth, I didnít say happy, I said joyful. (Gal 5:22 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, According to Galatians 5:22, when a person becomes saved, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given to them is joy. It seems that instead of being given the fruits listed in Galatians 5:22, it looks like most Christians have received rotten fruit. The way Christians walk around today, it seems like they have received fruits like these: hate for love, misery for joy, anxiety for peace, impatience for longsuffering, harshness for gentleness, badness for goodness, and disbelief for faith. At this writing, I have been saved for 29 years and I have had the non-privilege in running into many Christians who seem to live exclusively in the doldrums. When I run into these people, I make it a policy to run from them. It is obvious that when Christians walk around in perpetual spiritual depression that what has happened is they have been diverted from Christ. This is not to say that they have lost their salvation, they have lost direction, perspective, and ultimately their joy.
How was it that Paul and Silas, were able to sing praises unto God after being flogged? Todayís Christian goes ballistic if someone sits in their seat at church. Paul and Silas was able to sing true praises from prison because they had not lost their spiritual perspective. The problem is that many Christians today have lost their spiritual perspective and have transferred that perspective to the physical realm.
(Rom 1:17 KJV) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
(2 Cor 5:7 KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Romans 1:17 was the catalyst for the Reformation. Martin Luther was miserable and then one day he read Romans 1:17 and instantly the Holy Spirit illuminated that passage. He then realized that it is by faith we live and not by works. He was stuck in the Roman Catholic system which was a hotbed of works and mysticism. Once God broke through with the mighty truth of that passage, it sparked the Reformation and the truth started to spread. The Roman Catholic institution could do nothing to stop it. One Monk who read the Scriptures, changed the face of spiritual Europe and then it came to America and from America the true Gospel went out to every nation. In 2 Cor. 5:7, we are told that the just, that is the saved, the same born again Christians found in Romans 1:17, are to walk by faith and not by sight. The word ďwalkĒ carries with it the idea of ďlive or conduct oneself.Ē This means that we walk strictly by faith and not by sight, or what we see. The physical senses have a tendency to neutralize faith, if we allow them to. The key to understanding this situation is that as I mentioned before, many Christians have transferred their faith in God to faith which is determined by what they see. Let me say at the outset, that just because we do not know what is going on in the world, does not mean that God has lost control. If God has lost control, here is how we will recognize that fact. Either the sun will be speeding toward us or we will be speeding out of control toward the sun. So every morning when you get up and look out the window and see the sun where it belongs, then you know God is still in control. Our non-understanding of Godís ways must never be the catalyst for losing faith.
In this article, I am going to reference 12 things which will and have caused Christians to lose their perspective, leading to lose of joy and faith. You may disagree with them and continue to live in misery, which unfortunately has become the psychological trademark of many Christians. The overriding problem in Christianity today is that Christians have lost focus and that focus must be regained and I will broach that at the end of this article, because if we donít know what we are doing wrong, then we will never be able to make it right.
Seeking to be Victorious
(1 John 5:4 KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
(1 Cor 15:57 KJV) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
One thing the Christian must understand and that is that victory is not a goal, it is the present state in which the true believer lives. We have overcome the world through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing more to overcome. A Christians needs to conduct their life from the point of victory, not toward a victory, which has already been won. The Christian has been set apart from the world system and the problem is too many Christians are dabbling with the world. Whenever we attempt to do something in the same way the world does, we are lowering ourselves from the roof of victory. You see victory is not a ladder to climb instead all Christians are on the roof of victory and we donít come down. Just like the roof covers the entire house, the victory of Christ in our lives causes us to be above the whole world system.
Political Amalgamation
(Psa 119:140 KJV) Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
The word of God is pure but when we try to take politics and combine it with the Bible, we take the pure word of God and adulterate it. This does not mean that the Christian cannot be politically active but it does mean that the bible is interpreted spiritually and not politically. If someone votes in a candidate and that candidate seems to be a Christian but later it is obvious that they are anything but a Christian, then one can lose heart. We must never expect anything but the lowest form of conduct from any politician. God is not a Republican or a Democrat. Christians who heavily invest their lives in politics will soon live a disappointed life and if they do not refocus their eyes on the Lord, then they will walk around in defeatist mode.
Christianity and the New World Order
(1 John 5:19 KJV) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
I have been familiar with the teachings of the New World Order. They would include groups such as the Trilateral Commission, The Bilderbergers, The Council on Foreign Relations, Yale order of Skull and Bones, etc. Now there is much material available on these conspiratorial groups and what they have accomplished in their goal of ruling the world. I know many Christians who read this material and after they do, they are so discouraged and cast down you think they lost their salvation. The problem is that when one reads this material, it tends to refocus our eyes off the Lord and on the ďelite.Ē I know Christians who have devoted their lives to this material and what fruit have they borne? (2 Tim 2:4 KJV) No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. We are in the army of the Lord which means we are in a different kingdom. We know that there is always going to be these kind of groups of wealthy people who are going to make sport of the poor people. (John 18:36 KJV) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world.
If you are truly saved, then your kingdom is not of this world and those who are trying to rule the world are not of our kingdom but of the kingdom of Satan. If we continue to soak up this material concerning the unrest in the kingdom of Satan, then we are going to be discouraged as we see things happening in society. We must remember that Christianity was birthed in one of the most oppressive regimes in history. The Roman Empire was no friend of Christianity but did that stop the spread of the Gospel? If we allow ourselves to become discouraged by reading all this types of material, then the next step is, we stop ministering. If we are susceptible to easy discouragement and fear, then avoid these materials and stay upon the Scriptures. We need to know what is going on in our Kingdom and not in Satanís kingdom.
Following Men
(1 Cor 3:4 KJV) For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
(Psa 118:8 KJV) It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
If there is one thing which defines modern Christianity it is compartmentalization. What I mean by that is that Christianity has been partitioned off by teacher and preacher worship. Christians today have devoted themselves to the reading material written by men. It seems commentaries, books, and sermons by preachers have usurped the teaching of Scripture. The only time we study the Scriptures is when we are under the teaching of our favorite teacher. The problem is that man has a limited horizon and only God has an unlimited one which is the one that the Christian should be focusing on. The Bible is not of anyoneís private interpretation and there should be uniformity among Christians in understanding of the Bible. If Christians would study the Scriptures and not follow teachers, then they would excel in Christianity and it would be much stronger. I personally know Christians who have chosen to follow a man and they are the most miserable examples of Christians I know today. That is because their favorite teacher has become the Holy Spirit to them. What I mean by that is the teacher does all the interpretation and the followers only believe what that preacher or teacher tells them to believe.
(John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth but the problem is that too many Christians seek for their favorite teacher to guide them into all truth. The problem is that when many teachers gain a large following, they tend to get puffed up with pride and will take counsel from no one. Then when they are found wrong, the followers lose faith and become discouraged. This does not happen when you follow the Lord because He does not give false teachings and therefore if your mind is upon the Lord, rather than man, then you will not suffer discouragement.
Modern Versions
(Psa 119:89 KJV) LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
The word of God is settled in Heaven and that means it is settled here on earth. (Mat 6:10 KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Jesus prayed that Godís will should be done in the earth as it is in Heaven. Since 1881, the fatal year of the publication of the Revised Version of Hort and Westcott, there have been 218 translations of the Bible. Every new translation becomes more corrupt than their predecessors. This includes the New King James Version which casts doubt upon 873 verses in the New Testament. With every translation that is produced, the wording is changed because if a copyright is to be secured, there must be sufficient change in the text. The publishers are not concerned as to whether you go to hell or not, they just want to sell books at your eternal expense. The majority of Christians use multiple translations thinking they are getting a better understanding but they do not realize they are ingesting more confusion. Every translation says something different which means the modern versions are in flux and are subject to every archaeological find. God cannot bless a word that has been tampered with because He pronounces judgment upon those who add or subtract from His word. Let me show you just two of the most butchered verses in the New Testament:
(Rom 8:1 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(1 John 5:13 KJV) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
(NIV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
10 words omitted from Romans 8:1 and 13 words omitted from1 John 5:13. How can a holy God, who states that His word is settled in Heaven, place a blessing upon these counterfeit versions when they have been mutilated by Satanís scholars? This is why those who study these modern versions are not receiving any spiritual benefit, only confusion. Confusion does not engender spiritual growth and spiritual growth is a key to a joyous Christian walk.
No Commitment
(Heb 6:12 KJV) That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Another synonym, yeah two, for slothful would be ďlazyĒ and ďidle.Ē The Christianís reason of existence is to send forth the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations. When a Christian refuses to get involved, they are spurning the reason God has kept them here after salvation. Christianity is a lot more than just going to church on Sunday. It is a seven day a week responsibility. Many say they do not know what their spiritual gifts are and sitting in front of the TV every night is really going to help you find it. Do you need to know your spiritual gift to go and buy a couple hundred tracts and then hand them out? All you need for that is one hand to hold the stack and the other one to disperse them to those who pass by. You canít even put a tract in with your bills? You are that lazy? Do you know why world religions are gaining momentum? It is because Christians are sitting home watching TV or walking around with their MP3 players stuck in their ears dead to the world around them. The churches have chosen to build their kingdoms within their walls and have seriously neglected going out to the streets. True evangelism is not ďbring them to church on SundayĒ but is going out to meet the unbelievers where they work and play. It seems a very small number of Christians know what commitment means. Many of them know what ďcommitment to self meansĒ but not commitment to Christ. Many Christians walk around like zombies because they have no idea what their reason of existence is. There is an old saying that 10% of the Christians do 90% of the work. I believe it is a much lower percentage than that. Most Christians will not even place a bumper sticker on their car. When the Lord told us to go out into the world, He said it as a command. No one is going to reach the world sitting on their couch eating potato chips or sipping Budweiser. What churches need to do is ramp up their teachings on commitment. In our constitution, it is required that men serve 6 years of their life in the military. What churches should do is follow the same course of action. Donít let anyone join unless they promise to give at least one year of committed service to the church, by the time that one year is complete, they may desire to continue on in service.
(Isa 35:4 KJV) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.
Another characteristic of the miserable Christian is that they live in fear. They are afraid that someone at work might find out they are a Christian. In deference to their religion, Muslims will tape C4 to their bodies and blow it up killing them and whoever is around them. Comparing the commitment the Muslim makes to the commitment that the Christian makes, the Christian commitment pales in comparison. These people will blow themselves up and many Christians are afraid to even hand out a tract. They are afraid that if they are found out to be Christians, they might not get a promotion at work. (Heb 13:6 KJV) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6 states that the Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. In our opening verse, Isaiah 35:4, the Lord will come with vengeance on those who have caused us trouble. Our first responsibility is to be Christians and then employees. Have you ever seen people in restaurants bow their head before a meal by rubbing their forehead? My wouldnít it be a shame that the drug addict sitting one table over might find out that you are a Christian? The fear of man has overtaken many Christians and when we first become saved, maybe there is a little apprehension but that should fade after a while. The Christian has nothing to fear in this world. We are commanded to go into the world with the Gospel and that means the world around us first. What do we really have to fear? You know what we fear the most? Anticipation! We want to do something for the Kingdom of God and as soon as we plan, the next thing we know we are anticipating personal consequences. Guess who is planting that idea in your mind? It is Satan! He wants you to live in cowering fear so you will be the type of Christian who does nothing. Fear can stop you dead in your tracks. If we look back in history at many of the martyrs, their testimonies were bold because they we were willing to take it to the point of their physical death. If you are willing to trust the Lord, you will find that you will be a strong testimony but if you shrink back at every bit of opposition, then it shows you are not trusting the Lord. Look at the Apostle Paul, he didnít sneak into town at night and then sneak out the next night. As soon as he came to a town, it was only a short time before there was an uproar. This was because he was willing to take his testimony as far as his physical death and eventually it cost him his life but he is still affecting people to this day. How? (1 Th 5:27 KJV) I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. Here Paul implores them to read this epistle to all the brethren, not only those who are members of the church, but even to those they witness to and become saved. In fact, Paulís prayer is still being answered today. Whoever is saved and has a Bible, is reading or will read 1 Thessalonians. Paulís prayer is going to be answered until the last day. What will be your legacy? Fear or action?
Cheap with the Lordís Money
(2 Cor 9:6 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
If there is one pair of words which makes up the premier oxymoron, it is, ďCheap Christian.Ē The Bible is replete with promises God makes to those who are willing givers to the work of the Lord. So many Christians do not give anything to Godís work and they wonder why they have financial problems in their life. Then their excuse is I cannot afford to give anything. That is the time you need to turn your excuse in for a new heart about giving. Giving is a great dynamic of the Christian life. It is a sad shame that many Christians place God last on their list. Of course, their own priorities are always first. Basically, what is being taught by cheap Christians is that a personís eternal soul is not as important as my priorities. When I was a young Christian, the man who discipled me placed a love for missions in my heart. Since I was a young Christian, I have supported missions because missions is the heart of the Gospel. We have been commanded to go forth with the Gospel to the whole world and if we are unable to go, then we can and should support those whom the Lord has raised up to be able to go.
Now what follows is not name it and claim it but my own personal testimony to the fact that God is very faithful to His word. I live in a house that didnít cost me a penny (cost was $65,000), I drive a car that didnít cost me a penny (cost was $15,800), shortly some Christians are going to purchase an electric recliner for me which would otherwise cost $535. Some time ago a brother bought me a desk which sells for about $200 for $15. Since I live in a Co-op, our monthly co-op fee was $174 for 2010. In January 2010, I received a big surprise concerning my Property tax rebate. I received a total of $958 back from my 2008 taxes. Instead of throwing it in the bank, I put $950 in my checking account and then from March-December 2010, instead of budgeting $174 per month, I budgeted $79 per month because the $950 covered the other $95 per month. For those ten months, my co-op fees were only $79 per month.
Now I am not saying these things to brag, what I am saying is that God has given many promises in Scripture to those who willingly give to His work. As a new Christian, I did not know anything about these promises but I learned as I went along. I really feel sorry for those who refuse to give to Godís work or just see it as another burden on their budget. It is this kind of attitude that causes cheap Christians to remain in financial trouble and financial trouble always causes misery. When Christians get into financial trouble, their focus is on the finances and not on the Lord.
(Luke 12:18 KJV) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
On the other side of the coin from the cheap Christian is the Christian who is extremely materialistic. Since they are too busy attempting to find security in all their worldly goods, they too are cheap Christians when it comes to the work of the Lord. How can one support the work of the Lord and their materialism? Guess which one will win out? So many Christians feel they need to have every new gadget that comes out or they must have the upgraded model. When the Lord Jesus came to this earth, He didnít even have a place to lay His head. Today it is very easy to become materialistic since we donít even have to leave the house to go shopping because we can shop on line. The problem here is that these Christians look at the economy or the doomsayers on TV and become frightened at what they say and start hoarding everything. Their faith in God is replaced by their faith in their material goods. It is a shame when Christians feel more secure with material goods then they do with the Lord. Materialism does not lengthen your life nor does it make you feel secure because the more you have the more you want and pretty soon you will be like the rich man who wanted to tear down his barns and build new ones which were bigger. How many Christians live in bigger houses than they can really afford? If we limited our junk buying, we could live in cheaper homes more comfortably. The less material goods we have the less worry we have. I am not speaking about having extra batteries or extra food in the pantry or even a second car if you have a big family. It is the obsession with buying everything and anything on a whim just to have it. The desire for material goods is a sin because it refocuses your desires from God to materialism.
No Fear of God
(Lev 26:2 KJV) Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Have you noticed that most churches today have become non-alcoholic night clubs? What I mean by that is when you visit these churches, they call it contemporary services which means they have a rock and roll band on stage and that is exactly what it is, a stage! In Leviticus 26:2, God commanded Israel to reverence His sanctuary. To reverence the sanctuary meant that the people would attend the service and would not allow anything sinful or unclean to come into it. The amalgamation of rock and the Gospel is mixing the world and Christianity which is trying to take the Gospel of Heaven and adding Hell to it and thinking you are having a great outreach. Any time you mix the Gospel with the world, you neutralize the effects of the Gospel and it is no more the Gospel, just religion. Since rock and roll bands have been brought into the church, the spirituality in these assemblies has gone out the door. Once the reverent atmosphere leaves the church, there is no dwelling on God because these rock bands minister to the flesh alone. (Rom 13:14 KJV) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14 warns us that we must never make provision for the flesh and that is what these church based rock groups are doing. When you do not have true understanding of who God is, then you will not fear or reverence Him.
Christians tell many jokes with the name of God and the name of Jesus used casually. The third commandment has never been rescinded. It seems whenever Christians come into contact with these rock and roll churches, their reverence for God evaporates. Just go into any Christian bookstore and you will find the name of Jesus on everything, from pencils to skateboards. Whatever companies can place the name of Jesus on, they will sell it and the sorry part is that Christians will buy them. That is why there is no fear of God today. When I was young, I attended a church where you sat in silence waiting for the service to begin. It was a time of reflection and prayer. You sang hymns like Rock of Ages or Amazing Grace. Today you sing one line 30 times over. These false churches build euphoria into the fleshly part of the Christian and when they hit hard times, they will not know how to handle it because the clergy do not know enough about the Bible to preach their congregations to proper Christian living and how to face adversity. One cannot grow spiritually unless they understand the fear of God.
Coveting some type of sin
(Josh 7:20-21 KJV) And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: {21} When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
Achan was tested by the Lord to see if he would obey the command to not take any of the spoils. He disobeyed and it cost the lives of thirty six men plus the punishment was that he and his family were stoned to death and burned with fire. If we are holding on to a pet sin, we may be affecting others without knowing it. Christians that hold on to a pet sin, will never experience the full joy of their salvation and will make them feel like a hypocrite to the point that they will not be a witness. The problem is that they would rather forsake the witnessing than the pet sin. It does not matter what that pet sin is, it will keep a Christian from growing to their full potential in the Kingdom. When a Christian has a pet sin, they definitely know they have it and maybe it is the type of sin which is hard to expunge. We cannot walk in sin and in the presence of the Lord at the same time. Since the flesh and spirit war against each other, the Christian must strive to make the spirit rule over the flesh. We must intentionally avoid any situation which can enflame any sin passion in our lives.
What happened at the cross
(Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
When biblical teachings are replaced by rock and roll bands in the church, then biblical truth flies out of the window. When that happens, Christians are denied the cardinal truths of the Scriptures. One of the great truths is that every sin which the Christian has ever committed or will ever commit has been paid for and removed from their souls. The Christian has a sin cleansed soul and is readied for Heaven. This truth seems to be missing in almost every church. This results in the Christian believing that they still have sins which must be atoned for. When Christ went to the cross for His Elect, He removed the sin from every true believer. Without the Christian realizing this truth, they will still feel like they are a sinner. Nowhere in Scripture does God call His children sinners. They are redeemed children of God. Christians need to know that they have been fully forgiven. Salvation is not partial but full.
I have given twelve of the most blatant reasons that aid Christians in living in misery. Of all the people on earth, Christians have the greatest future. We have eternal life in Heaven but so many walk around like this is all there is. Satan has succeeded well in refocusing the Christianís eyes on the here and now. The Christian needs to look beyond the horizon of the here and now and realize that we have a future which will never end and it will be in bliss. There is no reason for the Christian to walk around like they are in total defeat or as if they are ashamed of who they are. When Christ went to the cross, He was placed on that cross naked and bleeding. He was not ashamed to face it yet we are ashamed to face who we are. The false religions of the world proudly display who they are and the Christians are the only ones who walk around with their heads hung low. Letís just briefly look at the twelve reasons:
Seeking Victory - We already have the victory
Political Amalgamation - Shrouds the true Gospel
Christianity and the New World Order - These wealthy are not gods but men
Following Men - Leads to futility
Modern Versions - Attacks the person of Christ
No Commitment - Creates spiritual lethargy
Fear - Shows no trust in God
Cheap - Shows no trust in Godís ability to provide
Materialism - Engenders greed
No Fear of God - No spiritual growth
Coveting some type of sin - Serving the flesh
What happened at the cross - All sin forgiven and removed
The way a Christian can turn themselves around from being miserable is to find out where they are being disobedient to the Scriptures and immediately begin to repair that breach. Once a Christian becomes obedient, the joy of salvation returns to them. This obedience comes by getting to know the Scriptures. (Psa 51:12 KJV) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. David asked the Lord to restore unto him the joy of the Lordís salvation after he confessed his sin with Bathsheba. We too must ask the Lord to restore us to the joy of His salvation. It may cost us and take time. Getting into sin is like getting into debt. It is easy to get into debt but hard to get out and yet it is very doable. The beginning of joy is to compare where your Christian walk is right now according to the Scriptures. Once you know where you are at, then you begin to remove the worldly ideas, motives, and methods. Then you replace them with the biblical ideas, motives, and methods and then the joy of your salvation will return because you have begun to refocus from the world to the Lord.