Whle reading Crazy Love this morning, a devotional by Francis Chan, I was convicted of the importance we put behind Christianity, but the lack of conviction we demand as Christians. In America, we refer to ourselves as a Christian nation. I think of my family as a Christian family. I view myself as a Christian. But why? I’ve always thought of myself as a Christian but i haven’t always been a follower of Jesus. That’s the part that gets messy, right?

We all want to go to Heaven, no one WANTS to burn in hell for eternity…but so many “Christians” are missing it! It isn’t the title, Christianity IS NOT a title! It’s an action and the sad part is its just become a tag. ” Oh yeah i’m a Christian, i’m a good person, i have high moral values…i volunteer” …well that’s great but that’s not being a follower of Christ, that’s just being a decent human being.

And when i say this, believe me i am preaching to myself. Chan talks about how we ask ourselves “how long should i read my Bible today,” instead of “how long can i read my Bible before i’m late for work?” I can be the first to admit that sometimes i have to force myself to get in the Word, and sometimes i never make it to my Bible for days. That’s the honest truth. But once i get in it, once i get in the Word, i don’t want to get out, i want to sit there and read until i’ve uncovered every promise, every truth God has for me! While that’s an impossible task, it should be what we live for, not what we work for.

But we, as Christians, are human (try not to hold us above that) and we make mistakes. And our God KNOWS WE WILL FAIL, he doesn’t expect perfection, he expects us to choose him when we do fail, to come to Him, ask forgiveness, and pick up where we left off. Being a Christian can sometimes lack in the ego boosting department. There’s a lot of messy times as Christians, it’s hard to get it right BUT, when you are striving for God, you DO get it right!!

But being a lukewarm Christian, you’re doing nothing for God, and essentially just living life as a good person…and being a good person doesn’t get you in to the gates of heaven. I am a filthy, dirty, sinning, shameful human being. While i’d like to consider myself a good person, if God got out the book on all the sin i’ve ever been convicted of, i would be ashamed. So no, we aren’t good people by nature, but God makes us pure again, righteous, and in return we GIVE our lives to Him.

That’s right, i said give, and it is so hard to give up that control, we are “slaves to the god of control” before we find Christ. But once we experience our saving Grace, we are slaves to Christ! He has control of our lives and what a relief that i don’t have to control every situation, every mess, every disaster that life throws my way because Jesus is right there, arm out for me to take as he guides me like the true gentleman that he is, down the path of righteousness! WOW.

Jesus warns us time and time again that no amout of “goodness,” or begging, or lukewarm lifestyles will get us into the gates of Heaven.

In Matthew, Jesus says, ” Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will get into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21)

When you look at your life, and compare it to a good person you know, who isn’t a Christian, but a solid good person, if you realize that if you weren’t a Christian, your life would look no different than theirs, then there is a problem.

Chan says, “They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong.”….this made me stop and think…I’m a “good person,” i don’t curse or swear, i don’t drink, i’m kind to others and i try to help people….but anyone person raised in a good family situation would live that way. That isn’t being a follower, its being a good person.

There’s a big difference between the two, heaven and hell.

If your life wouldn’t look much different if you suddenly stopped believing in God, then you need to change! (preaching to myself)

Jesus said, “take up your cross and follow me”…not, carry everyone else’s cross because it would be kind of you, not help someone cross the street, but FOLLOW him….be more than a good person, be a follower, live Christianity.

“Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”-Luke 14:31-33

Jesus gives an analogy that pretty much sums it all up for me. He says, 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.

He isn’t talking about literal salt of course, but the salt within us, the Christianity of our soul, the spirit within us. He means that if we are not living Christianity, if we are not fully changed, LIVING to serve Christ, then our halfhearted “following” of Jesus is useless, and because our “salt” isn’t salty, it will only sicken our soul.

How powerful is that?

We go all out for Christ, live our lives as servants to his Kingdom, or our own lukewarm efforts will sicken our soul, keep us from the glory of heaven.

Thank you Jesus for reminding me today that i’m not living for me, i’m not choosing You but living for myself, but when i choose you, i choose to give myself to You in every way…changing every part of my heart.

It’s not easy, its a daily effort, but we can do it! Don’t be discouraged, we all fail, every day, but we have a God who loves us with a crazy, senseless kind of love. He never fails us, he never leaves us, and His grace and mercy is unending. So i’m going to live my life for Jesus, allow Him to change my life more radically every day, die to myself so that i can live for Him.

Lukewarm might get us a gold star from the world, but it won’t get us into Heaven.