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I recently posted a message on Facebook that described how we constantly dabble in the world and expect a full life. This idea seems mainstream to me. I believe there is an epidemic of Christians trying to live with one eye on Jesus and the other pining for the world and its pleasure.
As a pastor, I continually see professing believers in Jesus Christ live exactly like the world. The question that they seem to be asking is “how close to the world can I get and still be Christian?” This question is not only dangerous but misguided. We have created a cultural Christianity that has a everything goes mentality. Many Christians watch the same movies everyone else does, listens to the same music everyone else does, spends money like everyone else does and embrace the culture just like everyone else.
Not only is there apathy toward holiness, there is a belief that expecting holiness is somehow judgmental or old fashioned. Churches that teach a feel good message with no accountability nor any message of repentance seem to be the ones that grow the fastest. People give hearty amen to the sermons on holiness and morality then “check in” on Facebook in places and situations that are counter to the gospel.
I can already hear some who read this think that maybe I just had a bad day, or am having some sort of perfectionist vision of what being a Christian is, but I am genuinely concerned. The concern I have is for the lukewarm lifestyle that does not lead to blessing and abundance but frustration, confusion and discord. I am concerned for the children of those who treat morality as optional not a natural expression of the gospel. I am concerned for churches that have the job of shepherding and proclamation but often fall short due to hypocrisy and apathy. I am concerned that our Christianity is often tacked on to the life we really want to live and is more like an insurance policy than a lifestyle. I am concerned for the reputation of the gospel. If we are preaching a gospel that doesn’t change anything but what we do on Sundays then is it really good news?
Jesus Christ changes things. Radical transformation and regeneration in Christ should make us as believers act differently. We should stand out. I reject the fallacy that has been propagated over the last decade or so that we have to be like the world to reach the world. Relevance has become the highest of virtue rather than holiness.
We need a return to biblical living and holiness that is an outpouring of what Jesus Christ has done in our lives. A lifestyle that is not about legalism and rules but a life that gladly lives in a way that brings glory to God, honor to his name and lives up to a life worthy of His sacrifice. That is a life that is full and abundant and hopeful and worthwhile. That is the kind of Christian I want to be and I want my church to project.
We have much to change, much to adjust and much to repent of. Let that start in me and you.
(Darrell Morgan is the pastor of Williamstown Baptist Church. He can be reached at 859-824-4102.)