I have long said that if you don’t have a love for God and desire to pursue Him, then it doesn’t matter what your profession of faith. The reality is you are not saved.
I know that this is a pretty rough statement. I even know that it can push people to use that Christian cuss word, “judgmental,” to describe me, but I stand by it.
This week I came across a great quote in the book ‘Rumors of God’ by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson:
“Those who say that they believe in God and yet neither love nor fear Him, do not in fact believe in Him, but in those who have taught them that God exists. Those who believe that they believe in God, but without any passion in their heart, any anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God-idea, not in God.”
-Miguel de Unamuno
Despite the fact that America is claimed by many to be a great Christian nation, in reality we are not. However, if we do need a title, we might qualify as the greatest nominally-Christian nation, or maybe the greatest claiming-to-be-Christian nation in the world.
As I live in middle-class America, observing our way of life, what I find is that there is a great number of people who live however they want to in whatever kind of sin pleases them. There is no love for God or desire to pursue Him. There is no fear that there may be consequences for their actions. They simply go about in the style of Romans 1:28, not even seeing it fit to acknowledge God…
That is of course until you bring God up. Then they will happily share their testimony of some time earlier in life when they attended church or youth camp, heard a message about Jesus, and gladly accepted His promise to make them happy and give them nothing but eternal blessings in exchange for simply saying a little prayer. So they said that prayer and walked into the rest of their lives with a sense of eternal security that meant they never even have to think about God again until they die. Of course, their version of the story won’t be that blunt, but the outcome will be the same.
Beyond that, I look at our culture and see a major cross section of atheists rallying against religion, and then on the flip side, a generation of “spiritual” people, who don’t want to deal with any kind of theology or dogma. They simply want to feel good. And then, an even sadder reality is that both of these groups could probably sit in many “Christian” churches and never even be challenged by the Gospel.
The fact of the matter is, Christianity was never meant to be the religion of pop-culture. It was never supposed to be cool and for most Christians in history, it was never easy or turned out great in the end. Yet, to be a real disciple of Christ we must answer the call to abandon all and follow Him wherever He leads.
So before I turn this into an all out rant, I want to get practical.
TO MY CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS
What do we need do to be faithful in our witness in a world that is so spiritually confused?
It must begin with us being renewed to a fresh love for God that draws us close to Him. We have to get a renewed perspective of who this God is that we serve and then be willing to share Him as He is. We can’t water it down, and we can’t make it something it’s not. Real faith is kinda messy, and often times unattractive, but it is the faith that God Himself established. I promise, we can’t make it any better or any more effective by pretending to be something else.
Jesus said to the early disciples, “take up your cross and follow me.” The way of the Christian is the way of the cross. We take communion where we remember Christ’s death, and we are baptized where we celebrate our own death and resurrection into Him. We have to realize that not everyone is willing to die to themselves in order to live in Christ.
TO NOMINAL CHRISTIANS
I know that you are caught in the middle of wanting the best of both worlds. You want to live life and enjoy the pleasures the world has to offer, but you also want the blessings of God and eternal life with Him. I can see the draw. But be warned, James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
As a hopeful follower of Christ, I pray that you will choose to pursue Him and be renewed in His image, but my plea for you today is that you will at least make a choice. To the church you are becoming the black sheep of the family, and to the world you just look foolish. Perhaps now is the time to go all in.
Please don’t be upset with Christians when they act like Christians. We live a life of conviction, pursuing Christ and a life of holiness. We really don’t intend that to be an affront to you. In fact, we really would like the opportunity to share with you and invite you in, but that is a choice only you can make. But also, don’t be too upset when you meet a Christian who is a jerk or who acts like their faith isn’t that big of a deal. No one is perfect, and arrogance and pride gets the best of all of us once in a while.