There is little doubt that there are challenges to get Christians beyond religious thinking into a vibrant relationship with Jesus. In some way I think it starts with a changing of the perspective of life. Is Jesus an aide to us so we can have a comfortable life here, or is Jesus the reason we live? Answering this will help us understand why people struggle in their Christianity.
Many mistakenly act as if Jesus is their "Get Out Of Jail Free" card. He is the ticket to a blissful eternal life but we get to do what we want here. Such a perspective tells us that people only know Jesus by theory and not personal relationship. Such people will struggle with trust, will be overcome by the struggles of this life and will often fail in their faith. These are those who will abandon Jesus in the storms of life. They say the right words but fail in the practical living.
Those who have entered into a relationship with Jesus have a simple understanding that they no longer live for themselves, no longer make their decisions on their own, no longer own anything and are ready to face anything trusting that Father has it all in his hands. We identify with Paul:
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me."
I realize that I am stuck on this verse because I think most Christians miss it. I think most of us don't spend enough time meditating on this one single verse:
"The life I live in this body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
I no longer live. I have given up all my rights. I live to please Father. The life I now live I do so by trusting Jesus and all his promises. I live by faith.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Not possible unless I have realized the truth of my giving myself to Jesus and accepting his sacrifice for my sins and the life he offers through the resurrection: I no longer live but Christ lives in me. We live by faith and people of faith are not overly concerned by the things of this earth. We know we are beautiful to Father and we are accepted by him.
Look at your life. Are you overly caught up in this culture? Are you overly concerned with your appearance? Are you affected by the opinions of others? Are there things you possess that you could not live without? Are you worried about your future? Are you occupied by more than just today? Are you hurt by the words of others? Or can you instead say that you no longer live but Christ lives in you; that you live what he wants; that his priorities are yours; that you are content with yourself and this life because it is all in the hands of Father?
Are you religiously minded or are you in an incredible loving relationship with Jesus? Is Jesus an aide to us so we can have a comfortable life here, or is Jesus the reason we live?