The Christianity of the last thirty or so years in America – or forty – that we’ve sent to the world is a consumeristic, “God is my cosmic vending machine; Jesus is my personal trainer/self-help guru,” and the whole goal of the Christian life is, “Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Do I have a great marriage? Have I found the right person? Do my kids all turn out right? Are we upwardly mobile? You know, am I healthy, wealthy, and everything going my way?”
And if not, “Jesus, You’re not coming through for me. When did You forget that I, this narcissistic, consumeristic Christian, have taken Your Word and made all of it about me, and You’re supposed to make me happy, and healthy, and wealthy, and wise, and wonderful, and, someday, all my kids around the Thanksgiving table, singing “Kumbaya,” and everything turns out right, I never have a problem, tragedy never happens, cancer never happens, and if I really believe, then everything goes my way.” And we’ve been exporting that stuff around the world.
I’ve got news for you: If He gives you a rich, deep marriage, if He gives you health, if He prospers your business, if your kids grow up and love God – all those are really wonderful, wonderful byproducts. But I will tell you, Christians living like Christians are the acid test of whether God sent His Son.
There is one Spirit, there is one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father over all – “one,” “one,” “one,” “one,” “one,” “one,” “one,” “all,” “all,” “all.” And how we live or don’t live says to the world, “God is really God; Jesus is the Savior.” And when we don’t live like Christians, your happiness, and my happiness, and our fulfillment is very secondary.
He’s the Creator; it’s about Him. He has an agenda, and we sign up to say, “How can I serve You, O Lord and Master and Creator, who is worthy of glory and honor and power, for You have created all things? And by You, all things have created, and in and by You, they have their being.” And we are finite, little people, in this teeny, teeny thing called “time,” and time will go away, and it will be all eternity, and we will worship a living God in a new heaven and a new earth. And what we do now matters for that, and forever. And He calls us to live those kinds of lives. Chip Ingram