The Danger of a part-time Christianity (part one)…

One the most subtle, and yet most serious, threats to true Christianity is the danger of making God into a part-time god. We do not, usually, intend to do this – but it happens quite often because we do not rightly understand what our commitment to Jesus involves. It is a complete, unreserved, commitment to belong to Jesus, submitted to His Mastery, lived out with every moment of our lives. To call Jesus as Lord is to declare His ownership over us – without reprise or reservation.

The sad truth is that too many Christians truly want Jesus in their lives, but they do not really want Jesus to be over their lives. They want Him to love them, forgive them, rescue them from peril, help them in their weaknesses, protect them from injury and want, and for Him to be ever-present (and powerful) when needed. It is like Jesus is a “magic” book, kept on a convenient shelf, to be pulled down and accessed whenever they find themselves in a situation that makes them feel threatened, weak, helpless, or uncomfortable. But when the crisis is averted, they place “Jesus” back on the shelf, and go on about the business of living their lives (until the next crisis arises). This approach to God, essentially, makes Him the servant, rather than the other way around. What is more, it makes those who take this approach, the lord over their own lives, and God a wanted, and important, part of their lives. But never the whole!

And here lies the danger… Whenever we take the approach of merely including God in our lives, inviting Him to help us, almost exclusively, in our moments of need, we can convince ourselves that we have a relationship with God. We can persuade ourselves that we are pleasing to Him (and are Christians), because (unlike the godless) we value and trust in God in our moments of crisis. But this part-time approach to God is never what God is seeking from us – and will certainly deceive us from the real truth about our relationship with Him. As Jesus offered the most startling of warnings: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) There are many possible interpretations of this warning, but one obvious truth emerges: there will be “many” who stand before God on that Great Day of Reckoning who are utterly clueless that they have not actually pleased God. They have called upon God (“Lord, Lord…”), they have performed works in God’s Name (as “Christians”), but, according to Jesus, they never actually had a real relationship with God – to their shame and eminent demise. Truly the greatest deception is self-deception. The lesson we must draw from this truth is that it is possible to have just enough of God in our lives to convince ourselves that we belong to Him – but the truth of the matter actually escapes our attention. We can fail to gain God’s perspective – and lose the fact that we need to repent, to change our thinking! But we have no need to change when we are convinced that there is nothing that needs to change.

The real tragedy of “part-time Christianity” is how it effects, or fails to positively effect, the world at large. This world desperately needs to see a true representation of God – and this representation was meant to come through God’s Own people. The sad truth is that part-time Christians are actually pseudo-Christians, who may say all the right things but whose hearts and actions do not really reflect the will, and character, of The Great King. Once again, Jesus offers His sobering observation: “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me (and they DO worship) in vain…” (Matthew 15:8-9; quoting Isaiah, the prophet). Of these same pseudo-believers, the apostle was inspired to describe them as: “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) Part-time believers not only fail to experience the fullness of the abundant life promised by the Master (John 10:10), but their pseudo-faith brings a misleading influence to those who would seek to find the way, the truth and the life. Part-time Christians are like the mirage to the thirsty man in the desert – they have the appearance of satisfaction, but not the substance…

To be continued…

Coming next… the continuation… The Danger of a part-time Christianity (part two)

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About theheartseeker

I have spent years studying the Scriptures and seeking for God's answer to the question: What IS true Christianity? Let me share some answers with you...
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One Response to The Danger of a part-time Christianity (part one)…

  1. iwillc2it says:

    Very well written Mark… As always you make us look deep into our own lives and check our true standings and motives as a Christian. I am always motivated and challenged by your writing to become a true disciple for God. Not taking for granted what he expects and has available for my life to bring him glory.

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