By Joy Pedrow, alumna of Miller Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, April 15, 2015
In high school, I called myself a Christian, but this just meant I went to church every Sunday. I believed in God and I knew Jesus died for me, but I did not know what that meant. I thought I was a good person. I thought doing good is what got me into heaven. I was a cultural Christian.
I gave a horrible rep to Jesus and other Christians. I was not living out Christ’s love. I was rude, I gossiped, and I would push the boundaries and try and get as far as I could.
I had everything wrong. I was a horrible example of Jesus’ love and life change, because I hadn’t experienced it yet.
I wanted to be normal and fit in. If I honestly was following Jesus, I would not have been normal or fit in. That is the life of a teenage authentic Christian. In a public school, surrounded by non-Christians and non-authentic-Christians, an authentic Christian will have many challenges.
It was not until college, that I surrendered my life to Jesus. I realized how hard it is to be an authentic Christian in this world. When you are following Jesus, you are going against everything the world, media and your peers say and do. To do this, you have to be so sure and set in your faith.
So, what is the solution? I’m not sure. I do believe it is so important to find other Christians to experience community, find a place to fit in, and be your Jesus loving self. Find a gospel centered church where you can grow in your faith, ask questions, and experience authentic Christianity.
The pull of the world is so strong, and if you do not make your faith your own now and experience the love and life change of Jesus, the world will pull you away from Jesus and your faith. You can make the decision now to follow Jesus for the rest of your life.