Dr. Jim Denison
Few relationships in our culture are unconditional. Marriage for many is a contract rather than a heartfelt relational commitment, with divorce an ever-present option. Employees are changing jobs and even switching vocations more rapidly than ever before. Forty percent of Americans change their denomination or even their religion.
In a consumer culture, we are loyal to those who give us what we want.
on an adventure with God?
Here's why consumerism doesn't work with God: He is the King of Kings, not a commodity we can control. We are subjects, not consumers. When we make the Lord of the universe a means to our end, we miss the purpose and passion Jesus intends for us.
In Wild Goose Chase, best-selling author Mark Batterson notes:
"If you would describe your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you ... have actually settled for inverted Christianity. Instead of following [God's] Spirit, we invite [God's] Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God's purposes, we want Him to serve our purposes. ... The result of this inverted relationship with God is not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty, it's also the difference between spiritual boredom and spiritual adventure."
Jesus was clear: "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). He called fishermen to leave their boats and tax collectors to leave their booths. He turned a persecuting Pharisee [Paul] into a passionate evangelist.
And He sent them on an adventure beyond their wildest dreams.
Each of Jesus' followers (excepting Judas) was from Galilee, a region less than half the size of Connecticut. Apart from annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem, they would expect to live their entire lives in this diminutive area.
Instead, Peter found himself preaching and pastoring in Rome, the most influential city in the world. Andrew traveled as far as modern-day Russia, while Thomas took the gospel to India. Philip preached in North Africa, Matthew and Bartholomew in Ethiopia, Simon the Zealot in Persia, and John in Ephesus.
Now Jesus is calling us to serve Him as unconditionally as the men and women who first served Him. Nothing less is biblical Christianity. Nothing less is good enough for the crisis of our day.
Have you started living?
There are more evangelical Christians in America than ever before, but our culture is more resistant to biblical morality than ever before. What explains the disparity between our size and our influence?
Could it be that too many of us are too much like the culture we are called to change? Jesus doesn't want fans who cheer from the stands on Sundays—He wants spiritual athletes who compete on the field daily. He wants women and men who will go wherever He leads and do whatever He asks.
Our lives will not be safe, but they will be significant. As William Barclay noted, "Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble."•