It is easy to get off track in our Christian faith. And it just as easy to get off track being a young "friar" as it is as a housewife or a student or a construction worker or any other occupation.
One of the reasons it is easy to get off track is that we often mistake following Jesus for a phalanx of other meritorious ideas.
Here are some of the most common pitfalls:
Following Jesus is about being involved in Christian activities.
Being involved in Christian activities may be a good thing in your spiritual growth, but it may be a hindrance. If Christian activities is a well-veiled crutch to keep you from dealing with issues with your family, your work, or your friends you may need to cut back on them.
Pitfall #2 Following Jesus is about feeling good.
If you are following Jesus with all your heart, you will probably come to the point where you have to deal with real core issues in your life. As a matter of fact, you may consistently return to this point as different issues come up. And dealing with destructive habits, deep hurts, and growing through them is a painful, not so good feeling process at times. The gospel is about forgiving and loving enemies, reconciliation, and healing. It is not always easy, but it is more worth it than you will ever know.
Following Jesus is about having the right ideas
The truth: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the guy had his theology all wrong but his heart was in the right place with God and his neighbor, and that is what matters. A lot of people in Christian churches believe that being a Christian is about defending the faith against bad ideas, instead of commending the faith through living the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. I find it easy to sometimes hold firm to the truth, but in a way that makes me look like a total a**. When I do this, I think I miss the point.
Following Jesus is about being with all the right people.
Following Jesus is about bearing with people when they are a pain in the a**. Look at the Corinthian church. Does this church look like a model of church health? Heck no! Even the Philippian church in the New Testament had divisive people and potential church splits happening. The church needs to be full of difficult people who are committed to growing and learning to be more like Jesus, warts and all.
What is the gospel all about then? It is about becoming fully human. And it is about doing that through growing in knowledge of and love for our Creator. It is about joining his mission to build bridges of love to the world through surrendering ourselves to him and making ourselves his vessel of new hope, new life, and new love.
So we all must come back and ask ourselves...am I becoming more loving? am I becoming more forgiving and compassionate? am I becoming more bold in embracing that God's love and overflowing with love to others? If not we might want to go back to square one.