Summary: Following Jesus means being willing to serve and be inconvenienced for the sake of the Gospel.
Kissing Convenient Christianity Goodbye
August 21/22, 2004
PROBLEM: We have many ministry needs unmet and the needs of a 3rd service coming up. Christians think that serving others is optional. Christians think that laying down your life is just something “figurative” and “spiritual”. Jesus said whoever is not willing to give up everything they have cannot be my disciple. But we think we’re disciples if we pray a prayer.
Following Jesus means being willing to serve and be inconvenienced for the sake of the Gospel. When we are willing to lay down our lives for Jesus’ sake, we will discover we’ve actually found the abundant life.
Christians will be reminded of the radical call to service that the Lord gave us.
Christians will be convicted of their failure to serve when it is inconvenient and will repent of apathy and laziness.
Christians will be motivated to serve even when it is inconvenient.
The following are actual responses from comment cards given to the staff members at Bridger Wilderness Area in Wyoming:
Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands.
Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.
Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the areas of these pests.
Please pave the trails so they can be snow-plowed during the winter.
Chair lifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them.
The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.
A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call…
Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights.
Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
A MacDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.
The places where trails do not exist are not well marked.
Too many rocks in the mountains.
Citation: Mike Neifert, Light and Life (February 1997), p. 27
What do all of these comments have in common? They are from people who are ready and willing to climb the mountain trails as long as they are convenient enough. Just get rid of the rocks, the hills, the spiders, the dark, the coyotes, the deer, any problems, and we’ll climb the trail!
These hikers are what I call “convenience hikers”. They want all the beauty and the joy of being out in nature as long as it doesn’t come with any cost or inconvenience.
Does this sound familiar? The Lord has been dealing with me recently on this issue. No – not when it comes to getting outdoors and enjoying God’s creation, but about my relationship with him.
Through the example of people in this church and through some challenging books I’ve read recently God’s been convicting me of being a “convenience Christian” – someone who practices what I call “convenience Christianity”.
What is convenient Christianity?
• Convenient Christianity is a false way of living in which people profess to be followers of Jesus but are unwilling to be inconvenienced in serving Him.
• Convenient Christianity is submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as long as it causes no inconvenience.
I don’t want to be a convenience Christian. I don’t want to lead a church of convenience Christians. And it is my prayer that as we look at God’s word today his Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts about how we can move beyond convenience Christianity and into the real thing – costly discipleship that leads to abundant living!
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
PROBLEM: We read these words. Most likely we’ve heard them before. But they’ve become so familiar that instead of taking them at their face value we “spiritualize” the meaning.
What is the clear meaning? If you want to follow Jesus it is going to cost you. If you want to find your life the only way to find it is to lose it by becoming a slave for Jesus.
But instead of really living this way we live our lives like the person in this “sort of love poem”: