So you want Jesus… but you’re not ready to say no to the world and its approval.
You want the get-out-of-hell-free card, and that good-person-aura… but not the full-fledged commitment to God’s Word.
You want the benefits of being “spiritual,” the cushion of a family religion, and all the other perks of being labeled a “Christian”… without needing to obey Jesus and His Word in your everyday life.
Well then, have I got the Starter Pack for you!
Be sure to obtain each of the items listed below right away so you can begin your journey to a comfortable, vaguely-Christian life. In addition to assuaging your conscience, these items can be used to ward off legalistic, Bible-thumping Christians by granting you an outward appearance of godliness!
1. Christian t-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers…
This is a no-brainer. Obviously, in order to convince ourselves and the rest of the world that it’s possible to both believe in Jesus and be worldly, we need to start by plastering Christian-y stuff all over ourselves!
Now, occasionally you’ll see those extreme Christians using items like these, but for totally different reasons. Just keep in mind that the point of your “I Can Do All Things” t-shirt and your “God’s Not Dead” coffee mug is not to keep God’s Word in remembrance, nor is it to preach the gospel to others.
It’s simply camouflage, a deceptive disguise. The longer you wear or drink out of it, the more you yourself will believe that an inner, true faith in Jesus isn’t necessary. It’s the presentation that counts.
2. A shiny new copy of the Message.
Steer clear of those accurate translations and go for the one that, you guessed it, only vaguely looks like the Bible! It’s perfect for avoiding the things God actually says in His Word and replacing them with man-centered thoughts and expressions. You have the benefit of appearing to love the Scriptures, without the hassle of tackling those weird, outdated verses that would take way too long to study anyway.
3. Jesus-Is-My-Boyfriend “Praise Songs.”
Because being a Christian is all about romance and emotional fulfillment, right? Who needs those psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that focus on praising God for His glory, when you can have tunes that are all about you? I’d choose a nice, sweet chorus about God’s love for everyone over a Psalm of lament any day. We need some warm-and-fuzzy feelings–not reminders of holiness or judgment or sin.
4. A list of only the most positive Bible verses.
The Bible can be a scary place, you know? All the gloom-and-doom of those Old Testament books, the stories of God striking people dead, the warnings about hell… yikes! No one wants to hear those. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you were to mention those passages to unbelievers, you’d actually push them away from God. They want to hear the good stuff–don’t we all? So go ahead put together a short little list of only the most comforting, non-judgy verses, but be careful not to read the surrounding context. Unless you want nightmares!
5. A book (or two, or seven) written by a popular, fun, and relevant teacher who is equally as vague as you are.
When you’re not flipping through the Message, you can spend your time gobbling down the latest Christian bestseller. This shows everyone not only how interested you are in spiritual things, but also how intellectual you are–I mean, hello, you’re setting aside time to read a book!
Aim for books with cute covers, third-grade-reading-level-language, and funny stories everyone can relate to. Make sure they go as light as possible on the theology, though. If you see too many Bible references, or if they mention sin, wrath, or repentance, you know they’re just way too serious about the Christian thing. Not cool. The emphasis is on entertainment, not holiness.
After all, you’re not trying to benefit spiritually from the book–or the praise songs, or the verses, or the coffee mug. You just want reassurance that you’re doing a “Christian Thing”–so that when you’re standing in front of Jesus on Judgment Day, you can list all the books and point out all the t-shirts and smile your best toothy smile, and hope He lets you in to heaven. Because you’ve heard it’s really nice there.
You could heed the warning of this inconveniently-true passage:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Being “vaguely Christian” is not enough. God requires the real deal–and that’s a big problem, since our sin condemns us to eternal judgment and wrath. But the good news is that salvation is a free gift obtained through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, who died as a substitute, was punished for the sins of His people, and rose again–so that we could be justified and forgiven, and stand righteous before God’s throne.
How do we know we really are saved? The Bible calls us to self-examination. Are we walking in repentance–confessing our sins and turning from them in obedience to God? Do we love the Scriptures and strive for holiness? Do we follow Christ in our daily lives?
Or are we pre-occupied with our selfish desires and wanting to “look cool” in the eyes of the world?
If so, we have reason to fear. No “Starter Pack” will protect us. We need to cry out to Him, repent, trust in Christ alone, and then walk according to His Word. (For real this time.)