I sit here with my stomach in knots, and my heart in shreds. In the last months I have seen and heard of so many misrepresentations of Christ, that it makes my head swim. From the protesters at the funerals of our fallen servicemen, to the kook that wanted to burn the Koran, and all points in between. My sickness comes not from what these misguided souls are doing though, as much as it comes from the realization that it is far too easy for ME to misrepresent Jesus.
I can’t do anything about how anyone else behaves, but I can check my attitude about Christ. Jesus told the church at Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16). In other words, their self-serving attitude toward faith literally made the Holy God of Eternity sick! How many of us today are claiming the name of Jesus, and locking arms with the church out of sheer convenience?
Are you a Christian of convenience? Do you show up at church on Sunday, and drop a little something in the offering so that you feel better about the rest of the week? When people speak to you during your daily routines, can they see the love Jesus in your life?
More and more it seems that folks want to claim Christianity, and find every “loophole” of grace that they can to justify loose living. Too many of the problems that plague the world today are just as prominent in the church: divorce, adultery, teen pregnancy, suicide, domestic violence, etc. The list goes on. And the church is in lock-step with the world. We don’t want to be told that our sin is what nailed the Savior to the cross, we want to be told how good we are. We don’t want to hear that our sin separates us from God, we want to know “how to live our best life now.” This is the very attitude that incited Jesus to walk into the temple courts and start tossing tables!
There are people literally dying for their faith in Christ around the world, and we don’t want to be bothered with gathering at church on Sunday. We want a “Christianity” branded and packaged for us.
Well, let me tell you, this is not what the Lord intended. Faith is not about our feelings, our comfort, or our prosperity; it’s about Christ and Him crucified (see 1 Corinthians chapter 2). It is about stepping out and trusting Jesus to lead (see John chapter 10). It is about letting go of our priorities and following His (see Matthew chapter 16).
Don’t preach to me, Preacher,
Tell the other guy.
I know that I have done some things,
But I had good reasons why.
These other folks don’t understand,
They’re much worse off than me.
So you be sure to tell them,
And don’t start tellin’ me!
I’ve shown up for church sometimes.
Even more than twice last year.
So don’t make me feel guilty,
Because I like to drink my beer.
Don’t God want me happy?
Is He worried how I live our lives?
I haven’t ever killed no one,
And I’ve been good to all my wives.
I don’t mind saying “Jesus,”
When my friends say it’s ok.
So don’t preach to me, Preacher,
I like myself this way.
Jesus gave the Laodiceans an answer to this attitude, and it is the same answer for us. “REPENT!” – Revelation 3:19