What If...We Crossed a Line?
The sermon on the radio in my dad’s car the other day was one of the best I’ve heard in a while. The preacher was talking about living a called-out life as Christians and walking in the change we experienced through Christ. He also commented a few times about how being “seeker-friendly” doesn’t align with the way we’re commanded to live...that no matter how nice, put-together, and welcoming we are, some people just won’t choose to accept the free gift of salvation.
It’s nothing new to me, but it did bring back a lot I’d been thinking about when it comes to seeker-friendly churches and religion. And it made me wonder…
What if we crossed a line?
What if, in all our striving to look cool, be inclusive, and cater to the secular world, we forgot just what—or, rather, Who—those seekers are actually seeking? What if we’ve lost our identity as the Body of Christ by trying to look like the world? What if we’ve put Jesus in skinny jeans when, in reality, He wore tunics?
Those who are actively seeking peace, forgiveness, and a new way of life aren’t going to gravitate to something that has the same neon lights and hip hop music that a rave does. Those who long for a taste of righteous aren’t looking for a community of people who don’t live righteously. Those who desire to get to know God aren’t going to church for a motivational pep talk they could get from a self-help book and they aren’t going to reach out to a Christian if that Christian doesn’t look like Christ.
We were not called to look like the world.
We were not called to dress like the world, talk like the world, sing like the world, preach like the world, or live like the world.
We are a called out people. Not called in. We are called out of the world, out of the old ways, out of the secular—and called into Jesus, into purity, and into a way of life that no other idea, belief system, or religion can offer.
How are we supposed to introduce non-believers into this called-out life if we’re not living it? How are they supposed to change if we’re acting like them? What about Christianity is going to draw them if it’s exactly the same thing they’ve experienced time and time again?
People in skimpy clothes and body piercings, positive discussions, good music, games, pizza, an environment that’s painted in bright colors, a community that accepts them for what they are...that’s the kind of world non-believers already live in...and it’s the same kind of world seeker-friendly churches and some Christians are trying to offer them.
Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He said He would give us rest. He offers us something the world doesn’t, something it can’t. Something the world has never seen before. Something that inspires change, not complacency and stagnancy.
When Paul said that he becomes many things to many different people so that all may come to know Christ, he didn’t say that he wore a crown of laurels, got drunk, and slept around so that he could relate to Romans. He didn’t say he made burnt offerings and fasted so that he could relate to the Jews. He didn’t say he ran around half naked and worshiped sticks so that he could relate to pagans.
No, instead, Paul studied the people he preached to and he learned what their strengths and weaknesses were. He found what they didn’t know, so that he could teach them what to know. He found an altar for an “unknown god,” and he used that as an ice-breaker, a conversation-starter.
He found what they were looking for, what they were seeking: the source of unknown power, the still small voice, the inner light they couldn’t quite grasp.
And he gave it to them by offering Jesus Christ.
Why don’t we, as the Body of Christ, stop looking at what the world has so that we can emulate it, and start looking at what they don’t have, so that we can offer them the only thing they need: Jesus.