A Christian is committed to God. It is not a half-hearted journey. At least it is not intended to be. But many “Christians” have done it. They have turned following Jesus from a selfless sacrifice to a selfish pursuit. Christianity is nothing more than a status. A box to check. I can’t imagine this is how Jesus intended Christianity to be. Jesus made statements about hating mother and father…even hating his or her own life (Luke 14:26). Jesus asked people to think seriously about the costs of following Him (Luke 14:27). It was not intended to be an easy road. It was never supposed to be characterized by comfort and security.
But a life shrouded in comfort and security tends to have this effect. Culture influences the Bible more than God himself. For whatever reason many have allowed the culture to shape the Creator…and his expectations for us.
And here is why this post is so important…a person who claims Christianity but is not molded into the image of God is no Christian at all. Christianity is not about a name…it is about a Savior. It is not a declaration…it is a transformation. It not about fixing some bad habits…it is about becoming a new person. Jesus makes it clear how he feels about “status” or “lukewarm” Christians…
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.Revelation 3:16-17
But how do we know where we stand? Well, people claiming Christ but not really serious about Him adhere to some central truths. Call them commands if you choose. Ideals that shape decisions. So, here are the 10 commandments of an un-committed Christian.
#1: Love God, love your neighbors…if they look and talk like you.
It is important to love God. It is also important to love your neighbors. Practice both of these. But all that stuff Jesus said about loving enemies (Matt. 5:43-48)…don’t worry about that. Why would anyone love a terrorist? Why would anyone love a person that wants to come on our soil and kill people?
If Jesus were with us today…he would understand. Jesus doesn’t love them either. Just love those people who are easy to love. Love those people who look like you. If you do that, God is happy. Love God…love your neighbors who look and talk like you.
#2: Follow Jesus…until it cost you something.
I love following Jesus. Being a Christian is very important to me. But Jesus would never ask me to give up something. He would never call me to go somewhere I don’t want to go. Overseas? No way. Give up my free time? Don’t think so. I know Jesus. He wouldn’t do that. I thank God everyday for the freedom and comfort I enjoy in America.
My comfort is a gift from God. Following Jesus should never require someone to lose their job. I mean, God wants me to stand up for my faith. I get that. But I don’t think he would want me to stand up for Jesus if my job is on the line. Or my friendships. Relationships. Finances. Following Jesus shouldn’t hurt. In fact, I don’t believe following Jesus should really cost anything.
#3: Never use words like “radical” and “sacrifice.”
I love reading about the life of Jesus. Wasn’t Jesus amazing? The way he talked to the Pharisees and religious leaders. The way he spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes. The way he went to the cross. He was bold. Courageous. Inclusive. Loving. What a great story.
But Jesus would never ask me to live that way. And you know what really bothers me? When I see people like Dr. Kent Brantly go overseas to help dying Ebola patients. He contracts the disease. And then he expects to come back to America and be treated? I mean, why would you do something like that? Seems ridiculous to me.
Just be a doctor in America. Let the African people care for themselves. And all the people who are being killed by terrorists groups because of their faith in Jesus? Why not just denounce Jesus and save your life? You can always go back to Jesus later…I think Jesus would understand.
Words like radical and sacrifice always make me cringe. I want to be a Christian. I love Jesus. But I view Christianity as more of a status than a sacrifice.
#4: Heaven is good…life on earth is better.
Several years ago, Kenny Chesney came out with a song about going to heaven…but not right now. I am not a big fan of Kenny Chesney. He seems like a metro-sexual trying to be a cowboy while singing “poppy” songs on a country station. Can you say identity crisis? Anyway, I loved this song. I call it my anthem. I want to go to heaven. It will be a great place. But I don’t want to go right now. My life is awesome. I am in college. I have a wife and a healthy kid.
I don’t want God to rob me of the best years of my life. I want to experience college. I want to find my spouse. I think we all deserve that. Maybe when I retire Jesus can come back. I will be honest, though. If He came back today, I would be upset. I love God. I love heaven. But I really love my life on earth. At least my life at this moment. I want to go heaven…just not right now.
#5: Don’t pursue obedience…nobody should tell you how to live.
Here is the thing…obedience reveals weakness. Authority and obedience are kissing cousins…neither are related to me. I love God. But I do not believe I should be obedient to His commands. They are burdensome. Obedience to God robs me of fun. I mean God wants me to wait until I marry to have sex? He thinks it is wrong to be drunk? He wants me to give money back to him? C’mon God…do you not me to have any fun?
Look, just live for yourself. Nobody should tell you or me how to live. This is your life. The only life you have. Live it to the fullest. YOLO. Don’t pursue obedience and don’t fall under anyone’s authority. You are your own authority. Only you know what you want and need.
#6: If it feels good…do it.
Turn on the tv. Turn on the radio. Listen to the lyrics. Here is the overriding theme…do what feels good. You see all the fun these people are having? Don’t you want to be like them? The only way to make this happen is to do what they do. The people I see on tv and listen to on the radio are my role models.
Why would you do something if it hurts? Why would you work hard for something? Why would you stay in a relationship that is not doing well? Did God not give us feelings and emotions? Just act on the ones that make you feel good.
#7: Worship God on Sunday…worship yourself the rest of the week.
Hey, I believe Sundays are for God. I make it to worship every Sunday. Well, almost every Sunday. Every now and then I stay up too late and sleep in. There are also weekends when the kids have ballgames. But God understands that. Nobody is perfect.
Me and God have a deal. I will give Him Sunday. But the other six days I have a lot going on, so I live for myself. I turn God off. Like a light switch. God doesn’t really impact my social life. He doesn’t really change how I interact with my co-workers. He doesn’t influence my dealings with other people. My relationship with God works best that way. Mondays through Saturdays are for me. Sundays are for God.
#8: Read the Bible and pray…if you have extra time.
Life is busy, right (can I get an “Amen!”)? God knows our schedule. He knows we go from the time we wake up to the time we lie down. Ballgames. Practices. Homework. Social events. Marriage. My favorite tv show. My favorite sports team. All of these require my time and energy. I read the Bible when I can. I pretty much know how God wants me to live anyway.
And prayer? Yeah, I want to talk to God. But prayer is hard. I mean God never talks back. I almost see it as a waste of time. God knows everything. Why does he need me to tell him what I need?
#9: Pursue riches and fame…God wants you to have the best.
God wants all of us to have the best. The nicest car. The biggest house. The largest bank account. I believe this is God’s intention for our lives. Have you seen the Preachers of L.A.? I think those guys have it right. God intends for us to be prosperous (Deut. 8:18; John 10:10). All of us should pursue riches and fame. Doesn’t matter if you sacrifice your family or your integrity. God wants us to have the best. So…go get it.
#10: Don’t share Jesus with others…the mission is not important.
Sharing Jesus with other people is awkward. I might lose friends over it. I will certainly look vulnerable. I am not in to looking vulnerable.
And it has never worked for me. Sharing my faith that is. Well, technically I have never shared Jesus with anyone. But it has never worked for my friends. I know they have. I am just trying to live a good life myself. Hard enough to do that. Sharing Jesus with the world is asking too much.
Plus…the preachers and pastors of the world are supposed to share Jesus. People look up to them. They are paid. They are the leaders. Let’s leave the mission of God to the leaders of the church. It works best that way.
The 10 commandments above are all lies…of course. But these lies are perceived truths for many people. Following Jesus does lead to an abundant life, but the abundant Jesus promises is not characterized by the world’s values. It is marked by joy. It is marked by intimacy with the Creator.
Jesus desires followers. People that will live counter-culturally. Desire things that are eternal. Love others unconditionally. Live sacrificially. Pursue the mission boldly. I want to be a follower. I am not perfect, but I want to pursue Jesus with every breathe I have. I pray you do as well.
Join in the conversation. Comment below and let me know what you think. What does following Jesus look like for you?
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!