What’s the Deal? :: By John Lysaught

I know it’s tough to live in these last days, but what the heck is wrong with some “Christians.” I hesitate to even call them Christians. It is probably better to say they are Christians in name only (2 Tim 3:5). They purport to be Christians but they espouse evil and laziness in their ways (Proverbs 21:25). Yes, they show up to church on Sunday mornings and usually come late with one leg out the door before the closing prayer is complete.

It angers me because it gives the true followers of Jesus a bad name. These people have not surrendered their lives to Jesus but say they have. They are either ignorant of what living for Jesus is about or are blatant in continuing their sinful ways (Eph 4:18). Either way, they are wrong.

Followers of Jesus have given up self (Romans 12:1). They have handed their lives over to Jesus for sanctification (1 Thes 5:21), each day, not just Sunday mornings. If Christians by name haven’t given their complete heart, mind, and soul to Christ (Ezekiel 36:26), what good are they to the Kingdom of God, but more importantly, they have left their souls exposed to demise.

People, by nature, don’t like to change when they are comfortable in their daily life or who they interact with in the world. When one decides to follow Jesus, truly follow Jesus, they must walk out of their comfort zones to a new life, a new way of living (2 Cor 5:17). Gone will be the days of Friday night at the club or indulging in other sinful activities.

Once one makes the heartfelt decision to completely follow Jesus, they will feel a compulsion to leave that lifestyle behind. But even when this happens, some can’t let go of their lives. They can’t let those sinful parts of their lives go to the wayside.

Why? Basically, and pointedly, it’s selfishness (Phil 2:4). People don’t want to leave the normalcy of their lives and give up the areas of their lives where they have permitted sin to control them. For these people, they find comfort by going to church each Sunday feeling remorseful and convicted of the errors of their ways, only to leave the building to resume their [out of church] lives.

Yes, they may feel convicted (2 Cor 7:9-10) for their sins, but they leave it at that and nothing more. They half-heartedly seek forgiveness and feel they have received it because they had an emotional moment during worship time; but without a true desire to change, they will remain lost and their holiness in the sight of God will be nil (John 3:19-21). They will go back to their homes and crack open the first of twelve beers for the football game or get on their computer to look at porn or whatever sin they are encapsulated with.

Are these bad people? Maybe, depending on the person. But whether they are good or bad people doesn’t matter; it is about being saved or unsaved. This does beg the question, “Have some churches watered down the message of justification, righteousness, and sanctification so they can fill the church pews or to avoid offending people? (Mat 7:15). I don’t know. Every church is different, but some of these people that are Sunday Christians are exposed to this type of teaching and are being led astray (Mat 7:21-23).

When one understands what sacrificing self for Christ is, will be when change truly happens. Their old life will pass away and they will truly be living for Jesus (Rom 6:4). This will be a full-time endeavor and not a part-time activity. Gone will be the days of smiles and blessings only on Sunday mornings, but will be an everyday love and focus on Christ in every facet of life.

People will see the change in such people. Some will be positive about it. But others, well…I have found more to be negative about it. Social encounters will change and old friends will be exchanged with new ones. The most significant event will be from the enemy.

It is easy for Satan to leave one alone because, before giving one’s life to Christ, Satan had control by blinding the lost to the truth of fully living for Christ. Satan had no reason for showering temptations on those who were blind, because they were already living in sin. Yet, when one decides and makes the necessary moves to give up self to follow Jesus, then Satan’s attacks will be in full force because he wants to keep the blind blinded to the truth of what it takes to follow Jesus.

It’s when we are put to the test by Satan that we can either stand up to him – denying him a place in our heart – or pretty much bow down to him instead of God. This isn’t a piece-meal kind of thing either. You can’t bow down to Satan in some parts of your life and God in other parts. It’s either Satan or God, not both (Joshua 24:15).
Seems like an easy choice. I would say, ask anyone and most would say they will bow only to God, but what they don’t understand is that even in the secret-most parts of their hearts and minds, if they indulge in the ways of the world, choosing sin over life in even the small things, they are worshipping Satan (1 John 3:8). I’m not going to say we don’t mess up and fall into temptations, but followers of Jesus learn and don’t repeat again and are steadfastly following Him (James 4:7).

When we proclaim that Jesus is our Lord, we must take this to heart. We can’t expect to proclaim Jesus as our Lord and live the same way we did before proclaiming His Lordship over us. Nope, can’t do that, but people do. They are blinded to the fact that they must change their hearts and how they live. If they really changed their hearts, changing their lifestyle and ways will be much easier. If they just gave lip service to Jesus, then there will be no change. They may put on a good act for others, but in secret they are just as abhorrent as they were before.

So, what’s the deal with this? Are people lazy? Are they being fed only feel-good messages from the pulpit? Are they under a delusion from Satan? I don’t know. I really don’t know, but I have my own opinion; and it is that people are blinded and people are selfish.

People are blinded because they only listen to what is being taught at the pulpit and leave it at that, especially the pulpits that have only feel-good messages. They don’t study or pray much on their own to have the truth in them. As long as people only get the mushy message from the pulpit that makes them feel good about themselves and that they are ok even when they aren’t, they will be blinded.

And you know what? If the pastor gives a message that calls them out on what kind of life they are living and how wrong it is, do you think those people will be back the next Sunday? No, because they are selfish and don’t want to hear they are living in the wrong or change what they want to do that is wrong in the eyes of God.

What it comes down to is that a lot of folks and churches are lukewarm today. Those of us seeing the shortness of time left on this world know better. We must be hot and not cold, and definitely not just warm (Rev 3:15-16). We are in a time in world history where we will see the demise of the world as the earth groans for Christ to come back. We know we must be ever watchful (Luke 21:36). We must be vigilant in our faith and hope. We must be strong in the face of adversity. We must press the urgency of time to those we love and those in our circles of influence.

The deal is that we must be ready, at a moment’s notice, in a blink of an eye, to go home with Jesus (1 Thes 4:17). We can’t let our guards down, and we can’t slack in our preparedness for His great return to grab us and take us away. We face the most trying times in history, and it will get worse before Jesus comes for His children. Be ready, at all times.