Unintentional Christianity

 

Today’s Christian and today’s Church has a problem. That problem is unintentional Christianity. By unintentional, I mean accepting the label as “a Christian”, yet not trying to “be” a Christian; not being intentional about your spiritual development and transformation into Christ-likeness.

Choosing Christ

This point hit home for me just the other day. Let me provide a little background. I have twin, 9 year old daughters. One of them accepted Christ as her savior at age 7 and was soon baptized. The other daughter is still making up her mind. 

We are not pushing her into making Christ her savior. I firmly believe that a faith forced on someone is no faith at all. So, we are patiently instructing, praying, and hoping for that day when our other daughter will also accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. 

Both of my daughters have been attending a weekly Bible study and doing a personal devotional with semi-regularity. So, just a few days ago, I asked my “non-Christian” daughter if she had thought about making a decision to accept Christ and to get baptized like her sister. Her cold response was, “I’m not ready yet. But she isn’t any different. She is just as mean as a Christian as she was before she was baptized.” 

Imagine the plethora of Christians in the world today that “got saved” and then simply got older…but never made growing spiritually, or growing in love and grace an intentional part of their lives.

Of course, I explained that when someone becomes a Christian it doesn’t automatically or instantly make them a better person or even a nice person for that matter. It’s a decision which should naturally result in a long-term spiritual and relational growth journey. Becoming a Christian means making an intentional decision to seek God’s will instead of our own. It means working on following God’s command to love others, including our enemies, even when it is painfully tough to do. And Christianity means a whole lot more, but I hope you get my point.Following Christ?

So, let’s get back to the Christian/Church problem. Fast forward my “Christian daughter” and other Christians like her 10, 20, or 30 years. Imagine the plethora of Christians in the world today that “got saved” and then simply got older…but never made growing spiritually, or growing in love and grace an intentional part of their lives. Imagine the Christians who never truly have handed over the reins to God and said, “Jesus, I make you Lord of my life. Let your will be done in my life. I submit to your authority and spirit.” Imagine the Christians who maybe aren’t really Christians? 

This may sound harsh, but I firmly believe it is the truth. If you aren’t intentional about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then you aren’t a Christian. Said differently, if you responded to an alter call to accept Christ, but you never truly made a 100% heart and mind, life-changing commitment to follow Christ, then it’s possible that you aren’t really a Christian. In my view, to “be a Christian” you must be an “intentional Christian”. You must be conscious and actively working to (Luke 10:27) love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

I DON’T mean to suggest that if you haven’t “arrived” at your spiritual destination then you aren’t a Christian. But are you even on the journey?

This is not about works (earning salvation) and it’s not about being perfect (not possible). I DON’T mean to suggest that if you haven’t “arrived” at your spiritual destination then you aren’t a Christian. But are you even on the journey?  We all struggle and fail. But to use a football analogy, are you in the game and struggling and failing, or are you on the sidelines not even paying attention to the game being played in front of you every day?

Luke 9:23 says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 Maybe you are a believer (you’ve accepted Christ), but you aren’t a follower. If you aren’t being intentional about denying your selfish ways, and if you aren’t being intentional about following Jesus, then you fit my definition of an “unintentional Christian”. God alone knows your heart. And although I’ve been pretty strong in my words here, I rest in complete humility and peace knowing that God knows whether you are one if His children.

 But here is what I believe:

  • Being a Christian is more than head knowledge. Even many atheists I know have a good knowledge of the Bible.

 

  •  Being a Christian is more than just believing in God. James 2:19 says that even demons believe in God.

 

  • Being a Christian means believing first, then following Jesus Christ as a disciple or follower of His way.

 James 2:14-19 says “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble!

My Prayer

So, I started this article by saying that today’s Christian and today’s Church has a problem. That problem is unintentional Christianity. My prayer for you is that you will be intentional about your spiritual development. Go from merely believing in Christ as your savior, to being an active follower or disciple of Christ; truly making him Lord of your life.

 

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White


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Comments

  1. alan says

    Your article speaks to the heart of the deficit found in Christianity where so much of it, as practiced, is just a matter of what one believes as to certain doctrines. Whereas the gospel is Christ in you, something real from God within that means life. Not just that we believe that Christ lives within but that in a living way He does. Your article is good in that it raises the question of whether our hearts are set on Him, not just what we believe about Him. If everything with and about God is living, then we should be growing; and in my experience have found that if I’m not, usually my faith has become merely the beliefs I hold, rather than living fellowship with God thru the Spirit in Christ. Jesus said that there is a rest He gives when we come to Him but then says that there is a rest for our souls that we’ll find as we follow Him and learn from. Paul said that he presses on to lay hold of that for which Jesus had laid hold of him. Our knowledge in the things of God, spiritual knowledge, is not only that found in doctrines but is very practical, and only comes thru following Jesus as our hearts are set on Him. . . “If anyone would come after Me. . . ” What is good news for me is that when I fail at this, when I sin and my heart is turned toward other things and I’m not pursuing Jesus, there remains a God whose work is that I truly believe in Jesus and whose purpose is that I be like Him.

  2. brian gajgic says

    I pray a lot I say I talk to Jesus most of the day I’m a mentally disabled Christian struggling with taking medicine for 23 years thinking I’m not trusting Jesus and I’m on social security I feel I’m trusting the gov. and not Jesus. I don’t do much sin I do smoke cigarettes and try so hard to quit I try to encourage where I can and study and have been saved since 5 I’m 42 now I don’t feel the Lord leading me and truly want a closer walk with Him but there has to be something wrong with me I thnk I’ve been studying for a long time.

  3. harold says

    Thank you Sir, I think this issue has over the centuries become the most catastrophic setback christians face.

  4. Wade Trombatore says

    Brian Gajgic You can overcome !! In Christ Let your Hope be with certainty. I have Also battled with Mental illness And God can do wonders Your faith is Not shipwrecked so heads up God Will never Fail you. Check to see if there was any new age workings in your youth If so renounce it deliverance Ministry if there is one in your area might help much. But Remember Let your eye be single On Christ and Keep your Heart single. settle the matter of faithfulness As soon as possible. you belong to the Lord. Ask God for freedom from cigarettes I once I felt I had to be free from smoking (My new Bride was getting sick from my smoking) I still smoked 6 months But Hated my self with every cigarette Even though I then Smoked out-side. I sought God Whole heartedly And He gave a date in my heart that I would be free in 6 months Why, not sure But in 6 months I was free that was 21 years ago——Since you are sensitive to agitation And worry “Double mindedness” You need to remember Why worry when you can pray. God Loves you much Go after Him whole heartedly No condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. If you are Living for Him He will never Leave you are forsake you. And a word of wisdom: To hear the Gospel and teachings from God this is the milk of the Word. But most important Be a doer of the Word that is the Meat of eternal life..————Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. —-Heb. 6:1-3 is good also But be not afraid God is with you and in you. I hope there was no pain in me sharing this if so I hurt with you and am sorry But you can have victory. Many have gotten it right in Christ even with mental illness. God may have a wonderful purpose for you I am sure He does ———Yours in Christ: Wade Trombatore

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