First of all let me set the record straight, if we aren’t following Christ and desiring to be like Him in every way, then we really shouldn’t call ourselves Christians. That’s a bold statement, but it’s true. We can’t understand who this Jesus guy is, unless we actually read and study His life. What did He teach? What did He do? With whom did He associate with, and who did Jesus heal? When we study who Jesus was and is, we begin to see the kind of life that we are also called to live – if we are to follow Him.
Today, I would like to focus on just 4 Ways We Get Christianity Wrong.
It should be noted that there are more ways to get this wrong, but for the sake of time, lets cover just four.
I used to despise altar calls. (There, I’ve said it, phew what a weight off of my chest)
Why did I despise altar calls? It wasn’t because I was running away from the Holy Spirit, but rather I was running away from what I felt was manipulation. That sounds rather bold, and perhaps you will disagree with me, but isn’t there an element of the rehearsed, “I’m going to pull on your heart strings” emotionalism that can sometimes be present in altar calls? Some denominations have basically built their entire church on “feeling”.But let me ask you, what happens to those who just don’t “feel” it? Are they just not in touch with the Holy Spirit? I would add that some have walked away from the faith because of these kinds of emotionalism doctrines thinking to themselves, “I must not be good enough, or emotionally vulnerable enough, because I just don’t feel the way the rest of the church feels.”
Don’t get me wrong, when the Holy Spirit falls upon His people (and He does) we know it, but it isn’t always tied up in our emotions and tear ducts. Altar calls certainly have their place, but when it is not genuine, but rather stats driven…then it’s merely manipulation, and I don’t think that’s truly God-honoring. Don’t manipulate people into coming to an altar when there isn’t even an altar in their hearts yet for Him. That desire comes from knowing Him through the fellowship of other believers – also known as discipleship.
I am also not discouraging the use of the altar, it can be a wonderful, glorious place to receive Christ and to rededicate ones life, but it has been mistreated, overused and used to manipulate others as well. Use it wisely!
- It’s All About ME!
The problem with an individualistic society is the loss of “others”. No, we do not lose the sense of others around us, but rather the desire to help others, or to see the needs of others before our own. Jesus indicated to His disciples that if they were to be great, they had to first serve others. Our world teaches us through our own experiences, and we rely on these self-experiences to get us through life…but what if we’re missing the experience to serve others? Couldn’t serving others actually teach us more about ourselves as well as how God sees all of us?The problem with modern Christianity and Church is the need to find a place to be “fed”, but we never seek to feed others. If we find the first, but neglect the latter – we have missed the entire point of Christianity. Too often we see out churches to entertain us, to meet our needs, and to watch our children…but isn’t there more to going to church? Isn’t there more involved in being a Christian?
We get Christianity wrong when we internalize God’s blessing, but never make the effort to externalize it for others.
- The Christian Fast-Food Menu Order
Another component to the individualistic society that we live in is to use the Bible as a fast-food menu. By that I mean we can sometimes pick and choose the statements and teachings in the Bible that matches our lifestyle choices so that we feel less guilt, when all along we know that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us…and at times convicting us. We can all be guilty of this, and it can be easy to gloss over portions of scripture that don’t necessarily mesh with what we’ve chosen to put into our lives.Jesus consolidated the Ten Commandments into to very important truths:
1. Love God (Heart, Mind, Soul, Body)
2. And love Others.
When we do those two things and actually practice them in our lives the truth of the rest of scripture becomes real in our lives. By that I mean, we are more in tune with the Holy Spirit and more willing to listen to His calling.
- Commitment Is Vacant
We live in a very fast-paced world.
We literally have the world in the palms of our hands with smart devices that are linked to almost every place in the world. Isn’t it funny that we can spend 5-10 hours a day scrolling on our phones, but when it comes time to go to Bible Study or that group you said you would go to – we can’t seem to find the time.
This isn’t a guilt trip – this is simply the truth.
We might make excuses like, “Well, they really won’t miss me.” or “It’s just not for me.” or even, “That study is BORING!”…but what we miss out when we don’t commit is human connection with other Christians brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all imperfect and faulty…some ARE boring…some ARE not really geared for you…but the connection with other Christ-followers is vital!
Yes, we all have families.
Yes, we all have busy schedules – and time is a precious commodity, but if you can spend 5 hours + on Facebook, you can spend 5 minutes a day doing devotions or praying to the Lord. For some of you who have that commitment, I applaud you – keep going! Some of us need to get into some spiritual shape…and we need to actually commit.
These are just 4 Ways We Get Christianity Wrong…for what it’s worth.
Blessings on you!