The aim of the Christian life is quite straight-forward, and Jesus even spelled it out in crystal clear terms: we are to love God with the totality of our being. All aspects of who we are – emotional, volitional and intellectual – are to be fully given over to the service of Jesus Christ.
We are to be all we can be for Christ and the Kingdom, and we are to be the best that we can be. But sadly far too many believers settle for second best, for mediocrity, for half-hearted devotion. Jesus really is not Number One in their lives, and it shows big time.
The rampant apathy, complacency, carnality and compromise in our churches is a clear indicator that this is the case. For many churchians, Jesus is an optional add-on, but not a life and death necessity. He is nice to have around at crunch times, but otherwise he is kept at arm’s length.
We certainly hope that Jesus will not demand very much of us. After all, we want to keep on living our selfish lifestyles as we always have. Sure, when we first came to Christ we decided we might have to give up a few of the more obvious sins.
So murder is out. Grand larceny is out. Arson and torture may have to go. We then pride ourselves in thinking we are pretty good Christians because we do not do the more blatant and obvious evils. We simply forget or ignore the clear words of Jesus that he demands everything of us – everything.
He utterly hates and detests our lukewarmness. Does that sound a bit radical? If so, go back and read (perhaps for the very first time) Revelation 3:15-19 for starters. And as I have written about plenty of times before, God is not impressed with our intellectual lukewarmness either.
To love God with half a brain or no brain at all is just not on. As C. S. Lewis rightly said, “God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than He is of any other slacker.” But everywhere I find Christians who seem to read Romans 12:2 as if it says, “Be transformed by the removing of your mind”. (If you don’t know what it actually says, look it up – now.)
On a daily basis I find the most mind-boggling and jaw-dropping remarks being made by people who claim to be biblically-literate Christians. They seem to be so utterly bereft of common sense, intellectual acuity, biblical awareness, and theological understanding that I am often left speechless.
I am so deeply grieved when I witness this on a regular basis. What must our Lord think about all this intellectual laziness and biblical myopia? Plenty of examples of this can be produced here. Let me mention just a few from some other sites.
The other day I posted on some very worrying concerns about anti-Christian bigotry and attacks on freedom of religion from the Labor Party and the upcoming Victorian election. Some rather bizarre replies came back, including obvious leftist ideologues who put their love of Labor far ahead of their dedication to Christianity.
But one guy especially took the cake, saying that this was a good reason why we should be like Jesus and stay out of politics altogether. What!? Say that again? What does this have to do with anything? Not only does it overlook this very real threat to Christians, and the need for us to wake up and start standing for religious freedom, but it completely misrepresents Jesus and his mission.
Of course Jesus was not involved in politics. He was not involved in all sorts of things back then. He did not run for governor, nor did he serve in the military, nor did he set up a Krispy Kreme franchise, nor did he establish a grammar school, nor did he work in a hospital, nor did he offer computer courses.
None of these things are bad in themselves of course (especially the Krispy Kreme one) but he was a man on a mission. He came to earth for one reason only: he was born to die. So of course he eschewed any and every distraction to his mission.
But for him to forego all these callings and career paths does not in the least mean that they are no go zones for every single Christian. How utterly idiotic. One might as well argue that no Christian can be involved in a dental career, high school teaching, airplane design, opera singing, or work to improve the environment because Jesus wasn’t.
All over the rest of Scripture it is made plain that we are to do all things for the glory of God. Jesus was not a tent-maker, but Paul was. Jesus did not work in politics to free the slaves and work for godly values, but Wilberforce did. Jesus did not become a scientist for the glory of God, but people like Bacon did.
All areas should be included under the Lordship of Christ, including the political realm. It was God after all who created the institution of the state, and he expects us to be salt and light in the political arena as much as in any other. The fact that this guy could even come up with such a zinger shows what an emaciated state the Christian mind is in, in so much of contemporary Christendom.
One other quick example – and one equally moronic. I posted elsewhere a link to my new article on the fall of the Berlin Wall. What a wonderful and glorious day that was, when millions were freed from the horrific tyranny and godless hellhole of Communism. Yet incredibly I had some knucklehead Christian reply: ‘yeah, well what about Acts 2:42-47?’
I nearly fell on the floor seeing that one. Talk about a non sequitur. Talk about missing the point. Talk about being a clueless wonder. My mind is still reeling at the utter moral and mental emptiness of so many people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.
Instead of celebrating this incredibly wonderful moment in human history as any sensible person would – whether Christian or non-Christian – this complete num num decided to in fact stand up, not for freedom, but for a discredited political ideology which has murdered millions of people.
And worse yet, he sought to drag a biblical text in to support his indefensible position. But this is simply ludicrous in the extreme. There is nothing whatsoever in this passage that can in any way be used to push socialism, whether of the Soviet model or any other.
There is simply no commonality at all between the forced redistribution of wealth by modern day coercive utopians and what was voluntarily being done in the early church. Thus this text has absolutely nothing to do with either socialism or communism. But I speak to all this in great detail elsewhere: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/06/21/difficult-bible-passages-acts-432-511/
But as I say, every day my mind is messed with and my spirit is grieved when I see such gruesome examples of Christians who seem to celebrate mindlessness and who actually take pride in it as well. Do we have today the dumbest generation of believers ever?
When will we actually obey Jesus Christ for a change? And to do so, let’s start with the first and greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).