Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? – Hebrews 2
We’re dog minding at the moment. He’s a beautiful dog, a Groodle, and he attracts a lot of attention. Last week we decided to see how useful an evangelistic tool he might be, so we wandered off around the streets, mutt in tow. Talk about a dream team.
“Ah, what a beautiful dog, can we pet him?”
“Absolutely, he’s very placid. While you’re there, can we tell you why we come out on the streets?”
“Of course,” we hear wondering.
So, we get a chance to share Jesus, or pray, or ask them about their lives in relation to God.
We asked the Lord to show us 10 people we could talk to that afternoon, and as always it was surprising. Surprising, because most had some type of church background, and most claimed to be “Christians.” Yet none, seemingly, were following the Lord.
We challenged a young Chinese couple, who’s churches included the local Catholic place, Hillsong and a Baptist church, to get serious in their relationship with the Lord. We prayed over and blessed an entire Turkish family, who’s children loved the dog. Their claims to be believers did not seem to match their understanding of what it means to “have faith in Christ.”
We spoke to an American, who told us his life had consisted almost constantly of ups and downs with God, but that church had never appealed in spite of his wife’s pleadings. His responses were flippant until we asked how he would go if his life was required of him that very night?
There were others as well, a young couple who said they were believers, yet after a quick conversation, clearly their lives didn’t represent such a belief. Sheepishly they admitted to illicit relationship and casual acquaintance with God. We urged them to take Jesus seriously and prayed with them.
Here’s the thing though, almost all seemed genuinely interested when challenged about how seriously they took Jesus’ call to ‘follow him.’ Maybe it was a welcome change that someone actually cared for how they lived. We did, and so does the Lord.
How does it all get to this state, where believers wander unaware that anything might ever be demanded of them, that they are called to Holiness and separation from the world. Alarming.
Many, many ‘Christians’ are walking in suburban slavery to a system that has blinded them to the real Gospel. For too long it seems, we can’t tell the difference between us and the world. How on earth then, are we going to change it – change it towards what we should ask, us?
Obedience to God, that is really sitting down and taking Jesus at his word has almost completely escaped the modern Christian life. The call to deny oneself, take up our cross, live our lives simply, sacrificially, prayerfully with a mindful call to be Holy is no longer applicable. Obedience to Christ has been relegated as instead we practice our definition of ‘Christian’ activity. In short, as the Hebrews writer tells us, we have drifted into the world. We are infected.
This week I was in an Uber, and I found myself talking about business. It was a longish trip, and about half way through I was aware that normally when I get an Uber I have a sense of mission – how can I introduce the Gospel into conversation? What had happened? Quite simply, I had drifted, there are other priorities and I was slightly shocked. Here’s how it ended.
The Lord graciously prompted me and provided an opening; here was a man absolutely battered by life, with a recent broken marriage, job loss and total sense of failure. A Greek Orthodox who didn’t know that it isn’t the Orthodoxy that saves him, but the One who stands behind it. He had a Bible app on his phone, so I encouraged him to read, and prayed with him that he would experience the life changing love of Christ in his life. I’m not sure who walked out more grateful, him or I.
What you do with Christ in this life makes all the difference in the world, because he is the difference. He wants us to live fully, alive in Him. If we stop following him, and instead pursue other things, even if they appear to be related, then we will drift. Jesus warns us clearly of the eternal consequences. No label will save us.