Imagine one day you woke up and shockingly realized that you were married!
You scramble to figure out how you get to your current state. You tried to remember how you two first met. You wondered to yourself what led you to decide to give your life to this person. You tried hard to recall how the proposal took place, what happened when you said “I do!”. With the ring on your finger and the person sleeping next to you, you just knew that you were married! But no matter how hard you tried, nothing seemed to come to mind, absolutely nothing! Wouldn’t that be the biggest, most horrifying nightmare to anyone?
Ask any Christian:
- How did you first meet Jesus as a Person? What is your first encounter with Him like?
- What happened that made you realize how much Jesus loves you?
- How were you drawn by His love?
- How your relationship developed to a point that led you to gather up courage to say “YES” to Jesus as He had been asking you to be the Lord of your life?
May we gather our Christian friends to have an overnight party to share our stories instead of scratching our heads and got no clue!
When being Christians does not translate into such intimate, loving relationship with the divine, then Christians are just a group of religious people involving in the intellectualized institution called the ‘church’, who buy into the concepts of sins and salvation, who desire the insurance of life eternal, who want only blessings from above for the benefit of this life.
Granted some are birthed into “Christianity” and have yet to encounter Jesus as the Person. Thus the whole idea of have a personal relationship with the concept of God just plainly makes no sense. But while we thought we woke up and found ourselves caught in marriage, we might be too late to handle the ultimate surprise! Jesus Himself gave us severe warning in advance in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”. Jesus examines our hearts and knows who we are with Him.
Relationships just can’t be one sided.
Imagine if the following is a description of your marriage:
- The relationship is all about you
- Your spouse is never your focus but always being put in the background
- Your spouse’s loves and hates are never your concerns
- Your spouse is never your top priority, if he or she makes your list at all
- Your friends and your social circles hardly hear about your spouse through you
- Your friends may not even know that you are married as you often act like you were still single
- You hardly miss your spouse if you haven’t talked to him or her for a while
- You never share with your spouse your ups and downs in life, big and small dreams and aspirations, worries or fear
- Your heart and His hardly connect
- You and your spouse are practically living separate, independent lives from each other
Wouldn’t this be a tragic marriage? Yet that description may fit the reality of a lot of us Christians’ relationships with Jesus Christ!
Take the Litmus Test of a Christ-less Christian:
- Is Jesus the reason and purpose of what I am living for?
- Do I care about what Jesus loves and hates, and take effort to please Him accordingly?
- Do I spend private, intimate time with Him often enough to grow my love for Him?
- Do I take time to I hear what He has to say to me instead of my one-sided non-stop asking?
- Do I make Him my top priority?
- Is the fire of my love for Him keep burning?
- Do I choose Him over all other relationships in my life?
- Do I seek to do His will in my choices in life, in my use of time and in my use of money?
- Do we share life memories together?
- Do I share my life in Christ with people in my life the same way I share about other important people in my life?
- Is my identity in Christ satisfies me completely that I truly have no other wants?
In December 2013, Ryan Bell, a pastor and theology professor decided to embark on an intellectual experiment of twelve months without God by not praying, going to church, reading the Bible, putting trust in divine providence (http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/08/pastor-learns-the-price-of-atheism/?sr=fb010914pastoratheism8p).
What experiment is this? What if one day, your spouse comes to tell you that, “I want to do a 12 month intellectual experiment of being single again. I will live without you and will not talk to you or contact you, will not live with you, will live completely independent of you. Then I’ll decide after 12 month what’s next for us.” No true loving relationship would initiate such a silly, unloving experiment with his or her love.
Am I a Christ-less Christian?
From the fruit of our lives, it gives us away. Luke 6:43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.”
Yet Jesus love is too vast for any of us to phantom. We can take comfort that we might be Christ-less Christians, but it does not change the fact that Jesus always have us dear to His heart, waiting for us to respond to His love, saying “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me”. His character of compassion and mercy never changes.
So regardless where we are at with Christ, may we respond to Christ’s overwhelming love by taking His offer to seek after Him with all our hearts so He will be found. May we taste the abundance of being in Christ instead of living in spiritual poverty as a Christ-less Christian!