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.
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.
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?
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!”
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.