Q: “Sometimes it seems like my Christian friends think I’m too extreme in my faith. Can you take Christianity too far?” - Jeff J.
This is one of the of the most common traps Christians get sucked into. It’s so easy to get complacent. It’s so easy to get comfortable where we are because we’re no worse than the other Christians we know. We may even feel like BETTER Christians than some of our church friends. And we DEFINITELY feel like better Christians than the rest of the world outside the church. Because of that it’s so easy to forget just how much we fall short of Jesus.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about how many “christiany” things you do or how much like a Christian you act. I’m talking about your relationship with God. It’s easy to lose the drive and motivation to get closer to Him. None of us will ever be perfect in this life, there’s always room to grow. We can always be getting closer to Him.
As we get closer to Him, He will convict us of things we should be doing or should be giving up. He’ll be working on us, changing us, and that involves us having to make major changes and tough decisions. It involves us having to give up things that are really hard to give up. It involves us having to take leaps of faith. And it involves us having to do things that are really scary to do.
When God tries to lead us to these changes He wants us to make, we either follow Him and obey, or we try to ignore it. Sadly, we Christians tend to ignore it a lot more than we obey. And like I said, it’s so easy to ignore. All we have to do is allow ourselves to subtly separate from God and we’ll usually no longer feel as convicted. And when I say “allow ourselves to subtly separate from God”, that doesn’t take much. In fact, all it usually takes is to not seek God as diligently. If you aren’t actively seeking to get closer to Him you’re usually separating from Him.
And we don’t feel too bad about not actively seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength because our church friends often aren’t doing it either.
Kingdom not Democracy
In our culture we are raised to believe that the majority is right. The decisions in our government are made by the majority. Decisions of major corporations are made because of polls, studies, and surveys trying to figure out what the majority think. Reality shows are decided by what the majority of viewers want.
But, God’s kingdom is just that…a KINGdom. It’s not a democracy. God is the king and what He says is absolute Truth! And not only does the majority not rule, the majority are actually wrong!
In the Bible when Jesus was asked if only a few people were going to be saved, His response was that we should make every effort to enter through the narrow door because many will try to enter and will not be able to. He said many will be outside the door pleading for the Father to open it but He will say “I don’t know you or where you came from”. Then they will say “but we ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets”, but he will reply “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me”.
And likewise, in the book of Matthew Jesus said that wide is the road that leads to destruction and narrow is the road that leads to righteousness, and FEW will find it. FEW will find it! Then He said “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven WILL enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’”.
Those are very sobering words from Jesus Christ! And did you know that the majority of Americans profess to being Christians? In fact, it’s one of the top two religions in the world! Does that sound like a “FEW” to you?
In other words, you need to strive to be in the minority, not the majority. The majority aren’t going to be saved. You need to be one of the few that follow the narrow road. And even many who perform miracles and cast out demons in Jesus’ name will be shut out of Heaven.
Don’t be lukewarm!
In Revelation Jesus gave a message for one of the early Christian churches, telling them that they were neither hot, nor cold, but instead lukewarm. In other words, they were casual comfortable Christians. They weren’t on fire for God, nor were they cold to God. They were just lukewarm. And Jesus actually said that it is BETTER to be COLD than to be lukewarm. He said that the their lukewarm temperature disgusted Him and made Him want to vomit them out of His mouth.
Many translations say “spit out of his mouth” but the original word is actually closer to vomit than spit.
Let me reiterate that in case you didn’t catch it. Jesus said it’s better to be COLD than to be lukewarm. In other words it’s better to be an ENEMY of God than to be a casual Christian! At least as an enemy of God you have the possibility of being destroyed by sin and realize how much you need Jesus. But, as a casual Christian you become stagnant and worth nothing. Wouldn’t you rather drink plain water than a completely flat coke?
But, the reality is that most Christians are lukewarm and stagnant in this country. Because of that, Christ followers are often surrounded by casual Christians and for them to give everything to God and love Him with all their heart soul mind and strength they’d be laughed at and seen as extreme by the very Christians who should be helping motivate and support them. Those church friends are actually bringing them down and encouraging them to be lukewarm and stagnant.
It’s hard enough to avoid the trap of being stagnant without having our church friends discouraging and resisting our extreme devotion to following Christ.
For many Christians, Christianity is just a religion they claim to believe in, something they do on sundays and maybe wednesdays, something that their family and friends have in common. But, they would never literally make God the #1 priority in their life. They would never give up complete control over their lives, their money, and their possessions to God. That would seem crazy to them! They’d call anyone who truly did that a nutjob.
But, according to the Bible which they claim to believe in, Jesus would vomit them out of his mouth and would rather they be cold than to be lukewarm like they are. He’d rather they leave the church and turn their back on God than continue to be a casual stagnant cultural Christian!
So, if you’re lucky enough to have Christian friends who are just as sold out to God as you are and serve to push and motivate you to get closer to God, that’s awesome! But, if you aren’t, you need to pray that God would send someone into your life that can fill that role. And continue to seek God and be extreme despite the resistance you get from others. Seek to be a leader and hopefully inspire other Christians to be as extreme as you are.
And if you’re thinking that you aren’t really the “leader” type, good! Because that’s EXACTLY who God usually chooses!