M’kay, I’ve got something super-personal for you today, something that’s been weighing heavy on me for some time. If you’ve been reading IYSF a while, you already know I love being a ministry brat. I love that I’ve spent my whole life actively serving in a local church. I love my Baptist heritage. I know, from the Bible, why I believe and live the way I do, and I love sharing that with others. I don’t get tired of the lifestyle, and I know exactly why I want to live this way for the rest of my life.
Being a good ministry brat doesn’t equate being a good Christian. Sure, the lifestyle comes easy, and I’ve fudged my way through a lot of spiritual dry spells. One preacher wisely noted, “An active Christian worker too often lives in the shop window.” I can skip a month of daily devotions, and my dress standards won’t change. I know exactly what to say so my parents won’t worry. In fact, I’ve caught myself justifying worldly influence by “balancing it out” with just the right amount of spiritual influence. You’ve been there: you can be at your post in church, go soulwinning, encourage people in the Lord, and still barely be on speaking terms with Him. But it’s way too easy to convince yourself that you’re cool beans in God’s eyes because you’re still “walking the walk”. I call it the Good Kid Complex. You’ve been impressing grown-ups with your awesomeness for so long that you forget you’re the adult now, and God isn’t impressed.
News flash: The whole world knows you’re not serious. Every lost person in your life is fully aware that you’re not serious. Every member of the cloud of witnesses surrounding you, every combatant in the spiritual war going on all around you, is onto the fact that You’re. Not. Serious. And you think God is fooled.
- You swing into McDonald’s by yourself, head to a table with your tray, and, open-eyed, mutter a “DearJesusthankYouforthisfoodAMEN” while you unwrap your burger.
- You do leave a tract in the bathroom at the doctor’s office, but when the Holy Spirit tells you to witness to someone in the parking lot, you tell yourself you’ll “catch up” during Saturday visitation.
- You hear that a coworker’s husband has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. You give her a warm hug, but you don’t think to pray with her immediately.
- You’re checking off your Bible reading schedule for the day when a phrase jumps off the page at you. You recognize it from another passage and fleetingly wonder if they’re related. Shrugging, you close your Bible anyway. You’re done for the day.
- You’re cautious about saying “Praise the Lord!” or “Let me tell you what God’s done for me today” or quoting Scripture, even to people within your own church. It kind of looks Pentecostal or praise’n’worship or something.
Um, what? Are we just playing at this, or are we for real? I’ve convinced myself that I’ve done God a great service somehow by not “going off into sin”, but I’ve rendered myself completely ineffective for Him. What’s the use? Hello, my name is Luke. As in, Luke Warm. Suddenly everything I do becomes a matter of image. I don’t want to ditch the will of God altogether, but I don’t want to look like a fanatic either.
The sincerest Christians I know of any generation are never concerned about how “weird” they look when they do the work of God. They’ve got an infectious spirit of joy and peace about them. They’re daily in their Bibles or on their knees, and they’re always growing, always coming out with a fresh supply of manna. They don’t adopt all the do’s and do-not’s just to fit in; they align themselves with the Word of God and simply obey It. Sometimes I think I’m spiritually stronger and more knowledgeable than they are, but they’re barreling towards God faster than I can get my shoes on.
If I’m going to stand fast, I’ve got to buckle down and get serious about it. No more games. My object is not to look like a Christian; my object is to get so close to Christ that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me, or even what I think of myself, but on what He thinks of me… and oddly enough, what I look like will take care of itself. “All I do ought to be founded on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly” (Oswald Chambers).
I don’t want to be a picture-perfect good kid anymore. I want to be the snotty little brat picking at Jesus’s elbow every five seconds going, “Why are You doing that? Can I see that? Hey, let me do that for You… I want a robe like Yours. What’s Your middle name? I want to be just like You.”