Is the Christian Life REALLY the Best Life?

A 2002 study by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Family life Council found 88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18.

Eighty-eight percent.

Of  those who leave, only 60 percent will ever return.

Scary, right?!?

The most frequent reason teens leave the Christian life can be summed up in 5 simple words: “I just want a break.” Is the Christian Life the Best Life? I cannot answer this question for you. But I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine who might be able to help. | Christianity | Christian Teen | Questions about Christian Faith | God's Word | Bible Study

This article was inspired by a message I delivered to the students of Rapid City Christian School entitled “The Sweet Life” {Watch a Video of the Full Message}. This article contains Amazon affiliate links. Click Here for my full disclosure.

Tom Bisset, author of Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith interviewed people and asked them when, why and how they abandoned the Christian life.

He identified 4 prominent reasons:

1. They left because they had troubling, unanswered questions about the faith.
2. They left because their faith was not “working” for them.
3. They left because they allowed other things to take priority.
4. They left because they never personally owned their faith.

Another study found the most frequent reason teens leave the church can be summed up in 5 simple words: “I just want a break.”

I get it.

I grew up in an evangelical Christian home.

I’ve struggled to own my faith, been tempted to “take a break” from the Christian life, wondered what it was like to live a secular lifestyle.

I’m so grateful I was introduced to an author named Josh McDowell at a young age. His books helped me tremendously. 

If you (or your children) are struggling with any of the 4 things I listed above, I would strongly encourage you to get your hands on a copy of Josh McDowell’s book titled “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless.

However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith.

He dedicated the rest of his life to establishing a scientific basis for the facts surrounding the Bible, and helped many teens navigate the challenging questions listed above.

Christianity is Our Family Business

There’s a TV commercial featuring two little boys…

“When you’re a Smucker, everyone knows you are going to grow up to make the world’s best Jam.”

Smuckers was founded in 1897 by Jerome Monroe Smucker when he began selling apple butter out of a horse-drawn wagon.

It’s now a 4th generation 4.61 billion dollar family-run business.

When asked about their earliest childhood memories, Tim and Richard Smucker (Co-CEO’s of Smuckers Brand), answered:

Some of our earliest childhood memories are of eating jam.

Lots and lots of jam.

In fact, their parents often discussed the family business at mealtimes and they were encouraged to participate in the conversation.

If you grew up in a Christian home, you have more in common with the Smucker boys than you think.

Because, when you are raised Christian, everyone expects you to grow up to be a Christian.

And it is very likely that your earliest childhood memories are of being Christian.

Really, really Christian.

Christianity is your family business! Are you ready for the responsibility?

Or would you rather make your own way in this world?

I know so many people who ran away from the expectation of the family business.

They rejected their parent’s faith and replaced their Christian heritage with the offerings of this world.

They took a break from the Christian life.

And the sin that was so enticing…trapped them, confined them, and started to define them.

Some never found their way back home.

The most frequent reason teens leave the Christian life can be summed up in 5 simple words: “I just want a break.” Is the Christian Life the Best Life? I cannot answer this question for you. But I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine who might be able to help. | Christianity | Christian Teen | Questions about Christian Faith | God's Word | Bible Study

Is the Christian Life the Best Life?

I cannot answer this question for you.

But I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine who might be able to help.

I don’t know his name, and I’ve never met him in person, but He has become my spiritual mentor and trusted confidant.

A person I turn to when I grow weary of carrying the weight of the family  name – Christian.

He is a gifted writer and a passionate believer; far from perfect yet always pure in his intentions.

He love’s God’s Word above all else and desires to be a pleasing aroma to his Creator.

Yet he feels the burden of the family name in the same way you and I do, and is searching for strength to carry the weight of expectation.

His words are my heartbeat, my deepest longings, my hopes and insecurities all penned on parchment thousands of years before I was born.

He is the author of Psalm 119.

The purpose of this lengthy psalm is to exalt God’s Law and reveal the critical role God’s Word is to play in our Christian walk.

I’ve written several articles and a Bible Study on Psalm 119.

If you are interested in learning more about this beautiful passage of Scripture, I would encourage you to visit the links below:

An Invitation to Fall in Love with Psalm 119
7 Reasons to Study Psalm 119
Free 23-day Psalm 119 Online Study 

For the purpose of this article, I’d love for you to take a moment to open to Psalm 119: 97-104

97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

The psalmist believes the purpose of God’s Law is to protect and guide us. To teach us the way of righteousness and prevent us from straying off course.

The most frequent reason teens leave the Christian life can be summed up in 5 simple words: “I just want a break.” Is the Christian Life the Best Life? I cannot answer this question for you. But I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine who might be able to help. | Christianity | Christian Teen | Questions about Christian Faith | God's Word | Bible Study

God’s Word Guides us to the Sweet Life

Just like my favorite jam, God’s Word is 100% naturally sweet with no artificial flavors.

It gives us insight, wisdom, and understanding.

When we choose to obey the Bible, we are protected from evil and have no desire for the things of this world.

God’s Holy Word paints a picture of the life we were created to live and equips us to choose God’s way over our own.

It answers our unanswered questions.
It sparks our faith and ignites our passions.
It satisfies all of our cravings.
It equips us to run the family business.

You have a choice to make. Right here and right now.

Will you proudly bear the family name – Christian – and dedicate your life to the family business?

Or will you run away from the responsibility? From the expectation?

If you walk away from the Christian life, you will find there is nothing in this world that can satisfy your cravings.

In the end, the only thing you will taste is bitterness, sourness, and regret.

Because those are the tastes sin leaves in our mouths.

What Will You Choose?

The God who loves us, who inspired people like the author of Psalm 119, has laid out for us a way to live that is abundantly sweet.

He has given us the keys to the family business and promised to help us with every decision.

But we must be willing to take the responsibility. To equip ourselves for the task. To choose to trust that His way is the best way.

The most frequent reason teens leave the Christian life can be summed up in 5 simple words: “I just want a break.” Is the Christian Life the Best Life? I cannot answer this question for you. But I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine who might be able to help. | Christianity | Christian Teen | Questions about Christian Faith | God's Word | Bible Study

I’m sure there were times when Jim and Richard Smucker wanted to eat something other than jam for breakfast.

When they wanted to escape the family name and create their own destiny.

But they didn’t.

And now they hold the keys to one of the most successful family-run businesses in the world.

And their wealth can’t hold a candle to the boundless riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8).

Choose wisely, friend.

For there’s never been a more weighty decision set before you.

God’s way, or your own?

This article was inspired by a message I delivered to the students of Rapid City Christian School on April 20, 2017 entitled “The Sweet Life” {View the Full Video Here}.

This article has been shared at my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

26 thoughts on “Is the Christian Life REALLY the Best Life?

  1. I’ve often heard good things about Josh McDowell’s book, but still haven’t read it yet. I suppose there is still time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the encouragement to stick with the sweet life! I agree that it is the best.

    1. There are so many great books out there, and not near enough time to enjoy them all. Josh McDowell’s books are great reference books (not all being read from cover to cover books).

  2. Two of my favorites. The Psalms and jam! I love the honesty and rawness of the Psalms, and the encouragement and pointing us back to God aspect. Your article reminds me of Moses (or was it Joshua) telling the Israelites to choose today – life or death. It’s a choice we make everyday. One or the other.

    1. I can tell you have a sweet tooth, both spiritually and physically. Love the psalms for the very same reason. You are so very right about the magnitude of our daily choices. Praying we always have the strength to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Donna. I really enjoyed preparing this material for the middle/high school students. Such an important decision for all!

  3. This is a great post as usual Sarah! My kids grew up in a Christian home but alas, strayed as teens. Now, as adults two of them have come back to serving and going to church. I keep praying and I know God is watching over them. God bless you. #purposefulfaith

    1. Hi Steph. I’m so glad to know that your children are returning to Church. Definitely takes some longer than others, and can be so painful for parents to watch. Many kids raised in the same home make different choices, and as a parent there is only so much you can do. Saying a prayer over your family right now.

  4. To answer the question – yes! But somehow we Christians doubt it, we don’t really believe and we get side tracked by everything the world is doing….and then we realize we’re not happy or we’re not as happy as when we were truly walking with the Lord. I’m working on a blog post that emphasizes this point.

    Thanks for asking the question and sharing.

    1. I agree, it’s so easy to shift our eyes from eternal truth because of all the bright lights of the word. Unfortunately they never last! Everything the world has to offer lacks the sustaining power of God’s life & truth.

  5. Sobering statistics. I’m praying that my oldest who is going off to college in just a couple of months will continue to pursue Christ with a passion. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned. You just never know what your kids will really do when faced with temptation.

    Thanks for this great post and for linking up at Literacy Musing Mondays.

  6. I grew up in a church attending home but not a Christian home. When I left for college I tried to keep attending the same type of church but it left me empty. It want until I met my now husband and his friends and saw what real Christians were that I was drawn to seek the same. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m so happy you found your way into a vibrant Christian community. It’s difficult sometimes to separate our negative or neutral church experiences from the beautiful riches we have in Christ.

  7. I love how you relate “the Smucker family” to the Christian walk. “The family business”. It makes me proud, and humbles me all at the same time, to be part of such an amazing family. I pray I represent Daddy and his name well, to not only those around me, but the children God has given me to extend the family heritage. God bless!

  8. Wow. I have some great memories about Smuckers strawberry jam Sarah, yum! That being said, what a thought provoking post. I can relate to what you share here. I was drawn away quite easily to the secular lifestyle of living. I am thankful that God continued to pursue me until I saw things “His way.” Living the Christian life and seeking to serve God is definitely the best life. Thanks for challenging our minds today. It is so good to visit here again. Have a wonderful weekend dear friend and may God continue to richly bless you and yours.

    1. Strawberry is my favorite too, Horace! I’m so glad you stopped by. I think we’ve all been tempted to run from the responsibility of the family business, but I’m so glad you returned and are busy working to increase the glory of God’s name.

  9. Sarah, I enjoyed your creative twist on this topic. I too have heard the scary statistics, and the way I’m working on it in my home is to tell real, vulnerable faith stories with my children. They need to see how faith plays out in real life, so they aren’t shocked when they enter the “real world.” Blessings to you. Visiting from #gracemoments

    1. I love that, Sarah. My parents did the same for me. They were always real and vulnerable about their own faith (both strengths and weaknesses). They never claimed perfection, and never pretended the church was perfect either. It was so helpful to me!

  10. It’s a choice and sometimes young people need to explore other options and sometimes they don’t. As a mom, my prayers only increase in fervor, the older my kids get. thanks for your insights and passion for our youth, sarah. happy summer!

    1. Yes, free will is a real thing, isn’t it Sue? I agree that all children are different and everyone’s path is their own. Prayers are the best gift we can give our children.

  11. I’m going to have to get the Josh McDowell book! As a mom, those statistics make me wonder if I’m doing enough, but then God nudges me that He’s part of it too.
    Thank you for the thought-provoking post!
    Visiting from #Faith’nFriends

    1. I’m certain God plays a bigger role than we could ever imagine. There is such comfort in knowing He is capable of covering all our insufficiencies. I still highly recommend the book, as we all have difficult questions from time to time, and He provides such logical answers and convincing evidence.

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