"When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with the commercials for "the few, the proud, the Marines." What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. I hate running."
"But you know what? I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would've been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you."
"Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn't say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, "Take up your cross and follow Me." He also said:
"Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up EVERYTHING HE HAS cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:31-33)
"Jesus asks for everything, but we try to give Him less. Jesus said, "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out." (Luke 14:34-35)
"Jesus isn't making a cute little analogy here. He is addressing those who aren't willing to give everything, who won't follow Him all the way. He is saying that lukewarm, halfhearted following is useless, that it sickens our souls. He is saying this kind of salt is not even fit for 'the manure pile'. "
"Wow. How would you like to hear the Son of God say, "You would ruin manure"?"
"When salt is salty, it helps manure become good fertilizer.....but lukewarm and uncommitted faith is completely useless."
"As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there is no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are "lukewarm" are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven."
--Excerpt taken from Francis Chan's "Crazy Love"--
Lukewarm Christianity has been the topic of our nightly family Bible studies for the last couple of weeks; we are having a tough time getting past it. The subject has caused us to pause and think about taking our lives more seriously: What does it look like to fight WORLDINESS when the lure of it is constantly surrounding us? How do we purposefully choose to make material things NOT matter?
Consider this: I could go into my closet and get rid of the majority of my clothing, only saving a few things....giving the rest to the poor. I could also sell my car and use only Chappy's car when he is not working.....giving the car away to someone who needs it more. I could give up all food that is not necessary for my health: sweet tea, pies, and cakes......using money that typically goes toward those extravagances to help feed the hungry. I could even stop watching TV in order to spend more time serving others. You get the idea....the list could go on for awhile longer.
I could make a choice to do all of these things, and I am even stubborn (head-strong) enough to succeed. However, what good does a head decision or an "act" do if my heart has not changed? That is not what God is asking for when He is telling us not to be lukewarm; it is much deeper and much more difficult than "works".
The question our family continues to have is this: How do believers get to a point where Jesus' thoughts are our thoughts and His ways become our ways? In other words, How do we move past a "works" mentality and toward developing a "heart" that eagerly gives because if it doesn't, it will bust? How do we allow ourselves to be transformed into someone who gives all there is to give out of reckless abandon to the Savior?
Tonight, Chappy and I had each of the kids write down on a sheet of paper how the Father has been dealing with them lately during our Bible Study. We were blown away by their answers (one 15 year old boy and two 11 year old girls): The main theme each of them wrote about was pride and selfishness. All three of them, separately, wrote how they want to strive to put others' needs before their own desires and how they don't want to care about what others think.
God is continuing to work on the Hollis Gang!