As a shepherd, a watchman, and a warrior, I have increasingly become uneasy with what I see as a culture of convenient and complacent “Christianity” during this pandemic. Don’t get me wrong! I believe we should walk in wisdom and heed wise counsel concerning social distancing, masks and hand washing. This post is not about the location of our bodies but rather the posture of our hearts.
C.S. Lewis once said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
I’d like to suggest that the Christian faith is inherently uncomfortable. To be a disciple of Jesus is to deny oneself (Matt. 16:24), to take up a cross (Luke 14:27), to be subject to persecution (John 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12), to give up the creature comforts of home (Luke 9:58), to forsake the priority of family (Luke 9:59–62; 14:26), to be willing to give up all material possessions (Matt. 19:21; Luke 14:33), to be crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). And this is just the beginning.
Here in the United States, our default is comfort and convenience. Once we come to Christ, our main part of disciplining ourselves (1 Corinthians 9:27) is not being offended if the waffle fries were left out of our Chick-fil-A bag or if a spiritual mentor asked if we were being faithful with prayer and bible reading.
Here are my concerns and thoughts on how to continue to pick up the cross and be the salt and light during this time:
Church is Open
Right now we must remember that having the right to assemble and right to worship is woven into the fabric of our nation and in our hearts as Christians. I can’t find in the bible a time that Christians did not think that gathering and worshipping was worth laying down their lives. So, if we are able to gather, we should do so. However, if we are in a category where it is wise to stay home, then we need to handle our time of “gathering” in our home and the time we set aside to worship and hear the Word with honor before the Lord. Convenient Christianity has no place in the service of Jesus. Get out of bed! Don’t grill while you listen. If children are distracting, spouses take turns to have that time watching the service and serve one another. Don’t plan all of the “important” things in your life and leave your “gathering” time to some other time. I have even challenged Christians who cannot attend service because of underlying health reasons or their place of worship is closed, to get dressed and drive to the location and put on the service in your car and watch and worship from there. Why? Because we cannot be complacent and give God something that costs us nothing. Check the Posture of your Heart!
Sing like never Before
I find it very interesting that during this time a fundamental expression that is found all through the bible and all through the Christian experience, singing, is being forbidden. Now for some Christians bathed in convenience this is no big deal because it was always an annoyance anyway – took too long in service- too loud—not my style, but for those of us that know the power of singing worship we MUST be wide awake and sing. Sing in your shower, sing in your car, sing in your yard, sing in the morning and sing at night….Don’t be silent. Check the reason you Sing!
In “Convenient Christianity”, there are no frictions, tensions or demands. But Christianity that includes Jesus is full of frictions, tensions and demands. In this time of political upheaval, a robust Christian faith should have friction points if you are a lifelong Democrat or a diehard Republican. True Christianity repels the darkness and that is a tension point. Live your faith out loud. A comfortable Christian is one who easily blends in, looking and talking and acting just like his or her lost neighbors. A sure sign your faith is too comfortable is if nothing in your life sets you apart as a Jesus follower, to the point that even those who know you well can’t tell you’re a Christian. Be like Jesus! They are either running to you or away from you. Be the light. Check Your Witness!
As the representation of Heaven on Earth, let’s be embassies of God instead of white sepulchers. This is a time to shake off the deceit of convenient and comfortable Christianity and run this race that has been set before us.