Wednesday, April 2, 2014

have we made Christianity 'too easy'?

Bear with me on this...  I understand this is a very strange title coming from me.

To clear a couple things up let me make a few things clear from the start:
This is NOT a once-saved-always-saved debate, this is not a detraction from any of my thoughts/lessons on grace, this is NOT injecting works into the grace of....grace, this is NOT making works a part of salvation, this is not personifying God as the great Cosmic Sheriff.

That said, I go back to the question at hand:  Have we made Christianity too easy?

If you have a hobby, or play a sport, or you are married, or if you have kids (you can come up with an example to suit) then you will understand where I'm drawing from -- If you play a sport, or run, or workout, why?  Because it's hard.  Because it challenges you.  Because it makes you a better person.  If you are to be good at that sport, you have to sacrifice.  Sacrifice time, money, sweat, blood, pain.
A real example can be seen here locally.

School A's boys soccer team has signup in September, starts running and working out in October, practices all winter in the cold (yes... all of that is against TSSAA but that's not the point of this story... lol), to have tryouts in February.  Yes, you train and work 4 months before you even get to try out.  Then, they run until they puke, setting out trashcans (literally) to throw up in.  Then practices take place 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week, sometimes 6, sometimes even 7.  There are no excuses for missing practice.  You miss for vacation, welcome to the bench, schools out?  That's nice, practice remains and you better be there if you want to ever play again.

School B's boys soccer team has signups in February to start practice in February.  They run minimally and don't workout for fear of running off the few players that they have.  They practice when it is convenient, cancel for weather, cancel for school holidays, and absences from practice are merely part of the culture.

Regardless of how you may feel about either extreme, guess which team does better?  School A?  Always wins district, competes for regionals, competes for state titles, and is nationally ranked.  School B?  They may win 1 game a year, 2 if they're lucky.

Which school do you think develops more athletes?  Which school do you think breeds a culture of personal responsibility and drives kids to practice on their own outside of formal practices and encourage others to be better?  Which school do you think has athletes that continue to be top notch athletes even after they graduate high school (discipleship, anyone?)?  School A, School A, school A.

I'm sure I don't have to finish drawing the comparison for you, but... doesn't it make sense?  We've watered everything down to the point of skim milk.  We've preached "ALL you have to do is..." so much that instead of creating an understanding of God's Grace we've made "ALL you have to is..." nothing.
We pussyfoot around Everything so as to not run anyone off.  Our numbers are so tenuous that we live in fear (see 2 Timothy 1:7...) of upsetting, stepping on anyone's toes, holding anyone accountable, running anyone off that we are nothing more than a watered down motivational speaker.

We don't speak of better, or harder, or sacrifice, or commitment... we steer clear of anything that sounds of that at all.  Jesus said, "hey, you want to follow me?  Sure, 'all' you have to do is give up everything, your home, your family, your friends, your money, your house, your land, your name, and strap this electric chair to your back and let's go... Now."
But us?  We say "all you have to do is.... nothing"

And we(I) wonder why our numbers are dwindling, why the world looks on and laughs, why our kids leave in droves when they graduate high school, and why apathy is king.

So I ask again, to you, to us, to Me... have I/you/we made Christianity too easy?

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