The last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how to
write this post so it doesn’t seem as though I’m pointing fingers. I really don’t intend to do that (except maybe at myself). But it has come up in some way or another at least four or five times over the past few weeks through my daily Bible reading, my daughter’s morning devotional reading, other blogs, or church service.
I think the church, as a whole (meaning me and you and our spiritual leaders, etc.), has become far too much of a cheering section for Christ.
Hear me out.
I think Christians have become socially motivated to attend church. It has become the place where we can see the people that we like. We get some great entertainment. We can have a snack. We can also hear a sermon that may be motivational or encouraging (which are both great things) but not too convicting. We don’t want to convict people too much because then we sound legalistic and people will stop showing up. And the church really really wants people to show up! A LOT of people. That’s how we can tell whether we are doing Gods work or not. Because He doesn’t make his expectations clear enough for us in the Bible. So we sing some songs, listen to a good sermon, hob-nob with our besties, and then go back to where we came from both literally and figuratively.
We leave the church building, of course. But I think that many of us also leave the Christian life that we portray for a few hours on Sunday. We go back to doing what we always did, talking how we always talked, treating our spouses and children like we always treated them, spending our money like everyone else, coveting the things of this world, sleeping with who we want to sleep with, lying like we always did, gossiping like we get paid for it, and so many other things.
We extol “LIFE CHANGE” at church like it really flows from our buildings like a virus.
We post about it on social media!
We market it!
We preach about it!
We talk about it!
We proclaim it from the mountain tops!
But honestly, I would have to say from my experience and observation, a lot of what we call “life change” is really just “Sunday routine change”.
I hate to go all Old Testament, but raising your hand as an emotional response to a powerful message is NOT life change. It is a step in the right direction, but if you are doing the same thing next week that you did last week (before raising your hand), then your life has not been changed.
Life change is intentional.
Life change comes from the heart.
Life change comes from worship.
Life change comes from obedience.
Life change comes from submission.
Life change comes from a want to be one with Christ.
Life change comes from dying to the old self.
Life change doesn’t come from raising a hand or from repeating a simple prayer after the preacher.
I think we as Christians, other than the t-shirts we may wear, or the bumper stickers we may put on our cars, really don’t look or act any different from the rest of the world on Monday through Saturday. I think this is why a lot of people either don’t take us seriously when we talk about God, or they just see us as hypocrites. Why would they get out of bed early on Sunday when they can sleep-in and still live the same lifestyle. That’s what they see when they look at us.
If we’re running up our credit cards on needless material things, if we’re talking disrespectfully about our spouses, if we’re giving another driver the finger; if we’re going to the club and being provocative, if we’re not honoring our supervisors and our religious leaders, if we’re only using the scriptures when they are convenient for us, then we’re not motivating anyone else to seek a relationship with our God.
There has to be something different.
We can’t just be a cheering section or a social club.
God doesn’t need that. He is the Creator! We are the created!
We can’t just invite others to church so we can fill up the seats and call our jobs done.
It’s not about numbers on Sunday. It’s about how you live for the rest of the week.
God isn’t in the numbers game.
John 6 is the perfect example of what I am trying to say. You can read it by clicking here.
In this chapter, Jesus has fed the multitudes of people that came to see him teach. He performed a miracle in their presence. He fed thousands of people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. After everyone went to bed, Jesus dipped out. He walked across the sea to another town. When everyone woke up the next morning, they were hungry and they realized that Jesus was gone, so they got into some boats and went to find him. When they find Jesus they start to ask Him about when He arrived there. In verse 26, Jesus makes an incredible statement. Jesus was never one to sugar-coat things. Knowing their hearts, Jesus tells them, you only came so I would feed you again!
Not because of the teaching.
Not because of the miracle.
Not because of the life change.
Not because you want to go all-in for Christ.
He then goes on to tell them what they should be looking for. Jesus says,
“Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.”
Eternal life… Much more important than food and material things. Much more important than tomorrow life!
Let that sink in…
Being a Christ follower is not a hobby!
Don’t call yourself a Christ follower because of what you hope to get out of the deal. Love that is one-directional is not love at all! It’s abuse.
Call yourself a Christ follower when you are ready to spend all of your energy seeking eternal life.
Then you will be different. Others around you will want to experience what they’ve seen you experience. You will never be the same when you decide to follow Christ 24/7, 365.
God is about QUALITY, not QUANTITY!
He doesn’t need a cheering section. He does not need a fan club. He is not impressed with your t-shirt or your bumper sticker, or the amount of church invites that you can dole out.
He wants your heart….. Completely.
He is worth it!
In the book Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman says:
In Revelation 3, Jesus says to the Christians in Laodicea, ‘You are neither hot or cold but because you are lukewarm – I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.’ Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Everything in moderation’; He says you can’t be my follower if you don’t give up everything. His invitation is an all or nothing invitation.
Jesus has defined the relationship He wants with you. He is not interested in enthusiastic admirers who practice everything in moderation and don’t get carried away. He wants completely committed followers.
Christians cannot change the world until we change our lives. We have to change our hearts.
We have to stop trying to blend-in with the world.
We need to stand out with our boldness and with our ridiculous love.
What is it that you need to do or stop doing in order to follow Jesus more completely?