Cheap grace, easy-believism, consumer Christianity... These terms should hit every believer in the face like Hacksaw Jim Duggan's 2'x4' (tell me you remember Hacksaw). Christians in America have been faced with an all-to-easy ideology of Biblical faith. We have become the "cult of the comfortable" as I once heard someone say (thanks Bro. Bill). We must shake off nominal Christianity and embrace what Jesus taught - uncompromising, unashamed abandon to God.
We must depart from the usual and customary model of most Americanized churches. Instead of walking out faith like Jesus taught, we sometimes twist His words into a more comfortable version. Christianity-light is a warped faith that brings us comfort and pleasure, while pursuing the American dream. The American dream for a lot of believers is to make much of ourselves. Biblical Christianity says we are to make much of God. Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” If Christ has called us to Himself, we must do as Paul taught - "die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31). This dying daily is to us and our view of Christianity. We die to us and live for Him!
There are some out there who are truly and radically being changed and changing the world for Christ. But as a whole, American Christianity is characterized by half-hearted, lukewarm, indifferent, uncommitted, mediocre believers. Jesus taught that we are to abandon our lives for the sake of following Him. Yet, our culture redefines Christianity. Americanized Christianity at its worst says the believer can accommodate whatever form of faith they want.
David Olsen, the Director of the American Church Research Project (www.theamericnachurch.org), did a very extensive 15-year survey of over 200,000 American congregations. His research found that only 17% of Americans are in church twice a month. Did you get that? There are not even 1 out of 5 Americans Christians attending church regularly (assuming that more than 2 times a month is regular). America has produced Christians who are comfortable with God, but not committed to God.
We have to live out the Gospel of Christ in a radical way. We cannot compartmentalize our Christianity any longer. Christianity is not something we do on the weekend for a couple of hours or when we are faced with uncertainty or tragedy. For those who claim the name of Christ - It is in our DNA! It is who we are 24/7! Jesus clearly said that to follow Him, we’re to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him. He said that if anyone is to save his life, he will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Him will save it. In essence, our lives conform to the Gospel's message - we become (in what we say and do) the vehicle for the Gospel. Every conversation is soaked with Christ. Every thought is preceded and prolonged by Him. We are consumed with Christ and His values, mission, vision, and purpose. This drives us to BE the Gospel to the world around us.
Charles Spurgeon once described the good news of Jesus as "a lion--you don't have to defend it, you just have to let it out." If that is the case, we must let the Gospel out (through our lives) of the cage of American Christianity. Why not let the Gospel capture and cage us instead of us placing it in our Americanized cage for a change?
I'm not trying to guilt you into doing more for Christ. Christianity should thrive on the gospel, not guilt. A radical Christian life should result from God's grace. We should do more for the Lord BUT we need not to just get busy with Christian "feel-goods" that produce nothing but a pat on the back but change no one. Trusting in what God has already done for us is our motivation for doing more for Him. We must find relevant ways to be change-agents for Christ. I once had someone say to me, "If God is real, why does he allow suffering? There are three little kids on my block who go to bed hungry every night." I replied to them, "The real question is if you claim the name of Christ, why did you let those kids go to bed hungry every night. God didn't allow that, you did."
I wrote this to make you think about the current condition of your Christian life. Don't be comfortable and satisfied with the norm of Christianity. Desire Him more. Let Him change you through and through. BE and DO as His Spirit prompts. Modeling the Christianity of the Bible at first glance is radical. But it really isn't radical at all. It is reality. There is only one kind of Christian Christ taught and modeled. Radical is the reality. It is the call of every believer.