Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comfortable Christianity

As I sat at dinner, eating my taco, and discussing the day’s events with my husband, I realized something. I will get to that something in a minute. First we need to cover what led to that realization. I spoke with a friend on the phone today and we talked about a book I had just read (actually listened to as an audio book). I was telling her about a book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan. The book discusses how churches (and the Christians residing within the church's walls), have forgotten about the Holy Spirit. Seems like a simple concept, right?

So back to tonight, Greg and I were discussing said conversation, and I just thought: Man, how many people are living as comfortable Christians? First, let me define what I feel like is a comfortable Christian.

A comfortable Christian is one who attends church regularly, maybe even serves, participates in worship, reads their bible, and so on. They live like a Christian does. The problem lies in the fact that they don't rely enough on God to challenge them, push them, or even speak to them. They see God as a distant creator, one who loves them and cares for their needs, but one who is silent. Maybe they pray, maybe they pray a lot. Maybe they have felt the Holy Spirit move, but quickly dismissed it as an emotional reaction. Maybe they have felt challenged by the Holy Spirit, but quickly denied it, thinking it as unreasonable or simply illogical.

Comfortable Christians pray that God will fulfill their needs and bless them, but don't often pray to be challenged or uprooted. They don't often pray to be broken. They ask God to fix things, but lack the willingness to do the hard work that fixing often requires of us. Basically, they expect their life to be comfortable. They go to church, do good deeds, tithe, and go home. They don't expect to be missionaries, or go on church plants. They don't expect to fall to their knees in worship during a Sunday morning service. They don’t expect God to specifically ask them to sell all of their possessions and give to the poor. They don't expect God to ask them to do hard things, things that don't make sense. They don’t expect God to speak directly to them. They like their comfort and they cherish it.

For a long time, I was a comfortable Christian. I enjoyed going to church, read my bible, and I participated. I felt I was one of those people who longed for a close, intimate relationship with her creator, but would get there later. I didn’t think of myself as one who could hear God’s still small voice within the crowd of voices already yearning for my attention. I looked at people who cried in church and didn’t understand, thinking “that’s silly, isn’t this supposed to be happy?”
I realized that’s not what God calls us to be. Jesus asked us to die to ourselves, comfort included, pick up our cross and follow Him. He did not ask us to store up treasure on earth, but in heaven. He did not ask us to stay quiet and just go on with life. He asked us to be a light to a darkened world.

Tell me, how can our light shine if we are living as comfortably as everyone else? How can we die to ourselves, completely and fully, and yet remain complacent? How can we believe in Jesus, in God, and in the Bible, and yet forget about the Holy Spirit? To believe that God is not moving and active today, is to highly undervalue God.

In the book, Chan discusses how Christians are being normalized and tranquilized by the church. If we were to sell all of our possessions to give it to the poor, would we not be labeled as radical? What is wrong with being radical if doing it for the glory of God and the gain of others? People need to stop tranquilizing the ones who are living life as Passionate Christians. Do you want to live your life being comfortable and complacent, never reaching your full potential as a true follower of Jesus. Or do you want to be radical, passionate, and reliant on your Creator? Do you want to be consistently in close relationship with the one who made you? Do you want to hear God, the God of the entire universe, speak to you? Give it up; this life is going to be hard no matter how you slice it. Wouldn’t you rather go down knowing you fought hard? Knowing that you risked it all to follow Jesus, and make life on earth better for others because of it. To know that you completely died to yourself and all of your comforts, so that Jesus could wipe you clean and start new. To know that you did the will of God, because you heard him speaking it to you throughout your life. To know that Jesus made and impact on the world because you allowed him to use you in any way that he wanted.

That is the life I want. I want to risk it all and give it all to Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to move in me daily. To challenge me, mold me, and break me. I want to be someone who hears the Holy Spirit so clearly, that I am willing to move on whatever he asks me to do.

1 comment:

Kim said...

This is a great reminder to all of us!