29 September 2009

"Do Not Assume You are Good Soil..."

I've been reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan as part of an on-line Bible study in which I'm participating. The chapter I read for this week is, outside of the Bible itself, the most convicting thing I've ever read. Titled "Proile of the Lukewarm," I thought I'd share the "profile" with you... and let you decide for yourself. I'd love to hear your comments, too.

  1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe "good Christians" do, so they go. (Isa. 29:13)
  2. Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church... as long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chron. 21:24, Luke 21:1-4)
  3. Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when theyare in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think about their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (Luke 6:26, Rev. 3:1, Matt. 23:5-7)
  4. Lukewarm people don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don't genuinely hate sin and aren't truly sorry for it; they're merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don't really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. (John 10:10, Rom. 6:1-2)
  5. Lukewarm people are moved by stories aobut people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for "extreme" Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call "radical" what Jesus expected of all of His followers. (James 1:22, James 4:17, Matt. 21:28-31)
  6. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (Matt. 10:32-33)
  7. Lukewarm people gauge their morality or "goodness" by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren't as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (Luke 18:11-12)
  8. Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a second of their time, their money, and their thoughts, but He isn't allowed to control their lives. (Luke 9:57-62)
  9. Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn't really possible for the average person; it's only for pastors and missionaries and radicals. (Matt. 22:37-38)
  10. Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or whith whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective and generally comes with strings attached. (Matt. 5:43-47, Luke 14;12-14)
  11. Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. (Luke 18:21-25)
  12. Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today's to-do list, this week's schedule, and next month's vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come. Regarding this, C.S. Lewis writes, "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." (Phil. 3:18-20, Col. 3:2)
  13. Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, "Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is." Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel "called" to minister to the rich; very few feel "called" to minister to the poor. (Matt. 24:34, 40, Isa. 58:6-7)
  14. Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be "good enough" without it requiring too much of them. (1 Chron 29:14, Matt. 13:44-46)
  15. Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God. (1 Tim. 6:17-18, Matt. 10:28)
  16. Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. (Matt:7:21, Amos 6:1)
  17. Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens -- they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them -- they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live -- they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis -- their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. (Luke 12:16-21, Heb. 11)
  18. Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate theirpartially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn't be more wrong. (Matt. 23:25-28)

Honest reflection requires that I admit that I see more of me described above than I'd like to admit...

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