Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Three Types of Responses

King Jesus -- this mysterious but compelling figure who stands in the center of history -- is calling out to us:  "Come to me... Follow me."

As one of my seminary professors use to say, there are generally three kinds of responses among those who would call themselves "Christians."

  • Cultural Christians:  These people are "Christians" in the sense that there's no other box on the religious questionnaire that they would check.  They consider themselves to be Christians because most of the people in their culture or sub-culture generally (outwardly, at least) subscribe to a Biblical form of philosophy & morality... and they usually find it to be workable enough... on the outside at least. 

  • Convenient Christians:  These are "Christians" who are also "disciples" whenever it's easy to be so... whenever nothing else gets in the way.  To choose an easy example:  If it's sunny on Sunday morning, they may be golfing.  If they had a busy Saturday, they may be home resting on Sunday.  If there's a big game on Sunday, they're in pre-game-ceremony mode.  If a friend or relative is in town for the week, they're visiting.  If there's any kind of inconvenience involved, they find that they can't worship that day.  In general, they follow Jesus when it's convenient.

  • Committed Christians:  These are Christians who do not live their lives for their own pleasure, but rather live their lives for the Lord.  Of course there are a thousand benefits that are poured into the lives of these people every day -- Psalm 103.2 -- but these people are willing to follow Jesus even when the benefits aren't obvious.  They are ready to follow Jesus wherever he goes... they are even willing to suffer (as Jesus did) and only enter into glory later (as Jesus did).  

There might be some over-simplification in the categories above and the examples used may offend some folks, but in general, when the call to live sacrificially for the glory of King Jesus reaches the ears of those who claim the name "Christian," there are three ways of responding.

Some yawn.  They continue to trivialize themselves.  In the end, this kind of response simply can't bear the weight of human dignity -- the dignity that God intended us to inhabit.  It's self-destructive.




Others withdraw in fear.  They have no category for living sacrificially for the glory of King Jesus.  In the end they usually just stop paying attention to that kind of talk, even when someone reads it to them out of the Bible.  They ignore it & keep keeping on with the way life is supposed to go.


Others hear the call of Christ and their hearts are stirred to greater dedication.  They see that Jesus bore his cross for them; they stand ready to bear their cross for Jesus.  This is the way of following Christ... and they will not shrink back from the life of faith... and one day they will receive all that is promised (Hebrews 10.35-39).  

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