I’ve noticed, in general, after talking to some Christians over the years of my Christian walk a general attitude that can really discourage me if I let it, and the more I burn for Jesus and read the Word of God, the more this general trend in the Body of Christ annoys me and I refuse to succumb to it like the myriads of other ‘balanced’ Christians out there.
I’m talking about apathy.
Now, I am NOT taking the time here to say that you’re not saved unless you’re marching the streets in front of abortion clinics, or getting involved in political activism or anything of the sort, although I lean closer towards doing those kinds of things than not doing anything at all. I’m not saying Christians should be standing on every street corner preaching hellfire and brimstone; nor am I saying to boycott every single thing that upsets us, or picketing and protesting every time something or someone does something anti-Christian—although massive and widespread actions like that amongst the believers of the land have–and can–effectively make statements that alter the course of our nations or society. There’s all sorts of things we can accomplish when something ignites our hearts, however, I honestly think it’s easier to cool down a fanatic than it is to warm up a corpse. That’s to say, better to be “too extreme” than to be lukewarm.
Do you really think on Judgment Day Jesus will ever rebuke anybody for being “too on fire” for Him? Do you think when we all stand before the Judge on that day, He’s going to say “Well done, good and faithful servant, however, you could have calmed down a little bit. You didn’t need to be so extreme—I could have touched those peoples’ lives myself without your extreme passion for being a witness for Me.”
Do you really think Father God will rebuke anybody for going for it, and maybe they had some issues to work out, or lacked maturity or depth of character, but at least they were doing something? If you are waiting until you are perfect enough or knowledgeable enough or whatever enough, then friend, you’ll never do anything because you never will be any of those things in this lifetime!
By listening to the way some people I’ve met pat themselves on the back for their lack of activity for Christ, you’d think that there’s going to be some big fat reward in heaven for the lazier we are! I can’t find the verse in the Bible that states passivity is a virtue. Maybe the editors removed it from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the quiet who don’t ruffle any feathers, for they shall be no threat!”
“Better not share the Gospel with too many people, or people will think I’m a Bible thumper! Better not speak up too loudly (or at all) when someone mocks my Savior, or else they’ll label me intolerant, or a bigot. I don’t want to lose that possible promotion at my job—I know my boss is an atheist. Better not take too many stands against things that undermine the Bible or marriage or the family–or else people will think I’m a typical Bible thumping intolerant bigot.”
Friends, I’m not impressed with people who are so “balanced” they don’t do anything to ruffle any feathers or rock any boats. Then again, I’m also not impressed with persecution-seekers–the people so obnoxious they make trouble for themselves and then pat themselves on the back for the backlash they receive–when it’s backlash for their pathetic attitudes, not for righteousness’ sake at all!
Saints, lack of resistance in your life is not necessarily a good thing. If you aren’t facing spiritual opposition, it might be because you’re not a threat to any spiritual forces. I’m not saying that if you’re obnoxious, and you stand on street corners with a 20 pound King James Bible condemning everyone you see to hell, then you should be proud that everyone thinks you’re a moron! What I am saying, is if you start taking stands for righteousness, to not be surprised if you start experiencing demonic or spiritual opposition for no other reason than that you are a threat to the kingdom of darkness and are encroaching on its territory. Going the way of least resistance in your life is just a cop-out, and takes no guts.
And don’t be surprised if other Christians whose status quo you are challenging are the ones trying to stop you from making too much fuss, either.
I originally wrote this in 2006 after attending a prayer meeting outside a stadium in Amsterdam, when I was living in the Netherlands. Madonna was doing a mock crucifixion in her act during that tour, and we gathered to witness at the event knowing full well we’d be interpreted and presented in the media as ‘protesting it.’ I stated in the original version of this post on my personal blog that this is not a defense about any backlash concerning the Madonna concert and my involvement in what has been called by others a “protest”–since we didn’t “protest” anything—we handed out flyers , sang hymns, prayed around the building–and totally had nothing to do with a 63 year old priest who phoned in a false bomb threat to try to prevent the concert from taking place. I personally never got any nasty feedback about it. Rather, these things were and have been burning in my heart, and a few conversations have really motivated me to put my thoughts on paper–er, a computer screen.
I’ve noticed, too many Christians pat themselves on the back for being “balanced”. When I listen to people talk about how balanced they are, I always ask them “yes, you are balanced, but according to whose scale, yours or God’s?” Friends, what God calls normal, we call extreme. What we call normal, God calls lukewarm, and in some cases, even an abomination.
Friends, there’s only one temperature for a Christian, and it’s on fire. If you burn for Jesus, then there’s nothing extreme about that, you’re on the right path. And get ready to stick out like a sore thumb in the midst of a lukewarm and backslidden Church. The ones who stick their necks out for Jesus are the ones who are going to have their heads chopped off. I promise you that.
On a closing note, I remember when I first moved to Pensacola, home of the world-renown “Pensacola Outpouring [of the Holy Spirit]” or “Brownsville Revival.” When I first met people there and saw their lifestyles–the people who’d lived through the years of revival, and how their lifestyles were ones of holiness and prayer, I thought they were all insane and legalistic and even weird. But it gradually dawned on me that carnal Christians and apathetic lukewarm believers are NOT the ones seeking God night and day crying out for revival–and certainly not the ones seeing it happen either! The Jesus Revolution comes at a cost, and when revival breaks out, it will require extreme radicalism on the part of the ones who it lives through.
You will seem extreme and radical to others, but it will just barely be normal by the Kingdom of heaven’s standards.