Saturday, May 24, 2014

Christianity's Biggest Challenge Is Not the Unbeliever

Do you really believe what this Book says?

 Convincing Christians to Believe Jesus Is Harder than Winning Converts

For almost a decade I've been teaching a Bible study called "From Genesis to Revelation." In the course of those years I developed a thematic statement designed to encourage those in the class, but which was really my own issue. "If we really believed what is in this Book, we would live our lives very differently."

The further we went in the reading, finishing the Old Testaments and entering the New, my own faith grew and grew. It wasn't my first time through the Bible. Far from it. But the slow line by line reading of the Bible over so many years, including preparing a lesson each week, was impacting me. Do I still have issues of belief and trust regarding the Bible and God? Sure, but fewer than I did a decade or even a year ago. 

But this much became clear to me. The vast majority of folks who call themselves Christian probably are not. They aren't doing any of the most basic requirements of being a Christian. For many the emphasis seems to be on trying to be nicer or sinning less. These are excellent goals, but have little to do with the Gospel.

In a way, it reminds me of talking with atheists, agnostics, or folks who claim they aren't Christians. You lay out simple, but profound truths that are going to impact their life in a major way for the better, and then give them the hope of heaven. But they will argue with you about evolution or how come there are so many religions or denominations.  They will bring up the problem of evil, suffering, or say things like "I wish I had that kind of faith."

Compare that to conversations you might have with someone who has stated they were saved. "I feel at peace about living with my girlfriend." "Why shouldn't homosexuals who are Christians be able to enjoy loving one another?" "I just can't get into reading my Bible." There is no way I can afford to tithe." "I would go to church, but there are hypocrites there and all those Christians are judgemental.

You can point out that the Jesus they say they are following has clearly laid out the ways you are to live in order to have the best possible life on earth and earn the most crowns in heaven. You might even go so far as to suggest that if they aren't actively dealing with known sin, seeking a closer and more intimate life with Jesus, and producing fruit they may not be heading to heaven. But many are just as hard-hearted as those who make no claim of knowing Jesus.

If we believe Jesus, then we need to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to provide us with the strength and wisdom we need to be nice and sin less, but also to spread the gospel and change the world. But just as God left it up to us to accept His free gift of salvation, He has also left it up to us to decide to be true disciples. We have choices every day whether to follow Jesus, obey His words, carry His cross, and have the discipline to work out our salvation.

Most, almost all, Christians make daily decisions to seek comfort rather than sacrifice, prefer being liked rather than being holy, consuming worldly input rather than Biblical, and striving for personal gain rather than praying for Kingdom increases.

Don't you want the most that life has to offer? Are you satisfied with your current spiritual condition? Don't you desire to serve Jesus in such a way that He will say "Well done thou good and faithful servant" when you join him in eternity? The alternative is "Go away from here. I never knew you."

If you want to change direction, that is repent, and get on a path to being all that you can be as a God Called - He Needs Your Decision! This new book is designed specifically to help any born again Christian to increase their belief and faith. It takes you wherever you are today and empowers you to move to the next step, and then the next, until you are fully surrendered.
follower of Jesus, you might want to pick up

Once upon a time, someone helped you to see that the Gospel was real, that Jesus was the Messiah, that God loved you, and that you needed to repent and be born again. Today, I'm hoping I can be that person who helps you to see that all of those things are true, and so is everything that the Bible says.  And since all those things are true, you should get serious about what the Bible directs you to do. Otherwise, your first decision seems utterly useless.

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