In his book Crazy Love, author Francis Chan lists some characteristics of people who are lukewarm in their relationship with Christ. When I read the book I was appalled to see how many of them are true in my own life, each one in varying degrees.
While we are never going to reach perfection in this life, it’s a good thing to examine ourselves and hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us about where we are in our journey with Christ.
I have paraphrased/summarized Chan’s list below.
- Attend church fairly regularly because that is what is expected of “good Christians.” (Isa. 29:13)
- Give money to charity, the church and missions, but ONLY as long as it does not infringe upon their standard of living. (1 Chron. 21:24, Luke 21:1-4)
- Will typically choose what is popular over what is right when faced with conflict. They want to fit in and so they are more concerned about what people think of their actions than what God thinks of the heart and life. (Luke 6:26, Rev. 3:1)
- Don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they only want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and they often think that the sinful life is in many ways better than the new life God offers through Christ. (John 10:10, Rom. 6:1-2)
- Are moved by stories about people that do radical things for Christ, but they never act themselves. They call “radical” what Jesus commands of all believers. (James 1:22, James 4:17)
- Rarely share their faith with others because they fear rejection and because they don’t want to make others uncomfortable by talking about something as “personal” as religious beliefs. (Matt. 10:32-33)
- Gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. (Luke 18:11-12)
- Have Jesus as a part of their lives, but only a part. They give Him pieces of their time, money, and thoughts. (Luke 9:57-62)
- Love God but not with everything that they are. They want to love Him that much but are convinced that the sort of commitment this calls for is only for vocational ministers. (Matt. 22:37-38)
- Love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. This means that the majority of their love is focused only on those that will love them in return. (Matt. 5:43-47)
- Serve God and others but only to a point. There is only so far they are going to go in giving of their time, money, and energy. (Luke 18:21-25)
- Think about life on earth much more than they do eternity in heaven. Their daily lives are focused on task lists, goals, schedules and agendas, but rarely do they think of their lives in light of eternity. (Phil. 3:18-20, Col. 3:2)
- Are thankful for their luxuries and comforts and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. (Matt. 25:34, 40, Isa. 58:6-7)
- Do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They focus on doing the bare minimum. They want to know how far they can go with something before it becomes a sin rather than praying; “How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?” They also want to know how much they must give in order to please God rather than giving all that they possibly can. They want to know how long of a “Quiet Time” with God is the right amount rather than thinking about how much they wished they didn’t have to go to work so they could spend more time praying and reading Scripture. (1 Chron. 29:14, Matt. 13:44-46)
- Are continually concerned with playing it safe. They are slaves to the god of control and this keeps them from ever risking anything for the Kingdom. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)
- Feel secure in their “faith” because they “do all the right things.” (Matt. 7:21, Amos 6:1)
- Structure their lives so that they don’t have to live by faith. They keep their bank accounts and refrigerators full so they don’t have to trust God for their needs. They don’t genuinely seek God for His purpose for their lives, because they already have their lives all mapped out. The truth is, their life wouldn’t look very different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. (Luke 12:16-21, Heb. 11)
- Probably drink and swear less than most people but besides that, they really aren’t all that different from your average nonbeliever. (Matt. 23:25-28)
Do you, like me, see yourself in any of this? May God grant us all the heart to repent and the grace to live differently.