Diagnosing the Casual Christian Life

There’s this part of me that I can’t quite get rid of. I’m almost to the point of naming them; they’re family to me. Some call them love handles, I just call them the Googer Hips. The result of years (at least a decade, now) of over-eating, under-moving, and general laziness.

(No hips were harmed in the writing of this blog entry.)

The result of a sedentary lifestyle sitting right there on my body for the world to see–only hidden by baggy shirts and a well-developed constant suck-in. Seven months of pretty intense exercising and four to five months of better eating and that thing is no closer to leaving.

Nobody ever really seemed to be bothered by my laziness, terrible diet, and growing waist. Louisiana certainly didn’t care (“Let the good times roll,” she’d say). Courtney just loved me like I was (“I mean, it wouldn’t hurt you to lose weight but I don’t care.”) and my friends? We all look alike, so why rock the boat?

As long as everyone is excessive nobody is, right? . . .

The casually excessive Christian is one we must be careful to not be. Here are a few ways to self-diagnose.

  1. Your cannot remember the last time you shared your faith–Many Christians in many churches aren’t even praying for those who don’t know the Lord, let alone creating space and time to share Jesus wit them. Remember–conversion isn’t your job, proclamation is.
  2. Your schedule is so full you have “no time” for mission–This looks like reverse laziness but actually is shrouded spiritual sluggishness. If you haven’t figured it out yet–your life will never be slower than it is now. You must fight for time–even free time–to be available for the Lord. If you are stressed out and full of obligations you’ll only get more sluggish.
  3. You cannot name a person you are investing some part of your life in for the sake of Christ–You don’t back into fulfilling the Great Commission, you step into it. Take something–anything–you are learning and begin investing that in someone. If you’re older–I’ll just say over thirty–just about anyone twenty-five and below will say “yes” to the question “I’d like to invest in you, would you let me?” I dare you to try it.
  4. You are in a billion Bible studies–See number two. I want you to drink deeply of God’s word, and I want you in meaningful accountable relationships, but I also want you to be wise with your time. I’m not a doctor, but I think that running from one Bible study to the next, in time, has a diminishing return on your faithfulness. Be a Berean, but also be a missionary. If all of you were missionaries, I’d tell you to be a Berean; but that isn’t really our problem.

When you get moving in the faith (when you get moving in anything), you have to make some choices and you have to say no to good things. Most days I now go to the gym from 4:30-5:30pm or 5:30-6:30. If you ask me to do something during that time I usually say no. Most Mondays I pray with some staff in the morning and won’t have a breakfast meeting with you unless you’re dying.

Most people will tell you that you’re doing fine. I’d simply encourage you to consider if they’re telling the truth or if they’re just comparing their life to yours (or vice-versa).

I'd love to hear your thoughts . . .