If you’re leading a study at your church, or mentoring someone, this is a great topic for discussion. Almost no one thinks they’re a secular Christian, which is the first potential problem – self-deceit.
Just to be clear; Secular Christians are different than carnal Christians. A carnal Christian is someone who claims to be a Christian, yet is living in clear violation of God’s moral laws. However a secular Christian is far more subtle because while they attend church and have an outward veneer of spirituality, they have very little spiritual depth and do not possess a worldview that actually governs their day to day decisions.
The truth is, almost every Christian I know, including me, has drifted into both carnal and secular Christianity from time to time. So, I’m not pointing fingers at them. I’m suggesting all of us use this blog as a tool for self-examination.
What follows is a portion of a very thought provoking blog posted by Joseph Mattera, a full time pastor. (The questions in parenthesis are mine.) The following are 10 signs you may be a secular believer: 1. You make major decisions without first determining God’s will. Many believers are functional atheists because they make major decisions, such as marriage, moving to another region, changing jobs, investments, large purchases, or changing churches, without asking God for guidance, or getting input from spiritually mature believers, or searching the scriptures. (What’s the last major decision you made, only after lots of prayer?) 2. You care more about what others think than what God thinks about you. In this “selfie” secular age, appearance, status, and popularity with friends are often pursued more than understanding the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). When we care more about what people think of us than respecting the ways of God, then we are secular. 3. You are led by money not by the Holy Spirit. Whenever you prioritize money, or personal gain, over God’s will, you are secular. This is why so many so-called believers work so many hours; then they rarely have time to fully participate in a faith community. Jesus said that if we “seek first His Kingdom, then all the other things we seek will be given to us” (Matthew 6:33). (Has your spouse told you often, that you work too much? Why do you?) 4. You attend church services primarily to socialize and get good teaching. Secular believers’ primary motivation to attend church services is to meet their friends, while biblical Christ followers’ primary motivation is to meet God in the context of communing with the saints and hearing what the Spirit is saying to the church. 5. You mimic the values of popular culture. Secular believersespouse the world’s values when it comes to dating, pre-marital sex, dress, popular music, language, etc. This reminds me of the old adage: “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck!” If you internally accept the value systems of the world, then you are worldly-minded (secular), not spiritually-minded. (Can people tell from your social media postings, that you love Jesus more than anything else?) 6. God is merely a part of your life. True Christ followers do not make God a mere part of their lives. Christ, and living for Christ is their life! (Colossians 3:1-4). (Has anyone ever said that you remind them of Jesus?) 7. You don’t have a lifestyle of seeking God. Secular believersmay say a quick prayer here and there, but they do not consistently, and regularly seek God’s face in prayer or pour over the scriptures. (How much time do you spend one-on-one with God daily or weekly?) 8. Your life does not impact others for the Gospel. Secularbelievers do not have a burden to win others to Christ. Many have never even won one person for God in the past five to ten years! The reason is because they are so subsumed with this world they do not have a sense of eternity. Sadly, many times unsaved family members, friends, and co-workers are not able to notice the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. (Who was the last person for whom you prayed regularly for salvation?) 9. You are not making disciples. There are many people in the body of Christ today who have been saved for many years, but have not invested their lives in making even one disciple. If you are not presently mentoring and helping somebody mature in Christ, then you are willfully disobeying the Great Commission Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19). (Who was the last person you mentored spiritually?) 10. You do not practice biblical financial stewardship. It is sad that many in the body of Christ do not believe that their money belongs to God. How do I know? It is because they only tithe and give offerings when it is convenient. They live as if they are the ones in charge of their lives, money and wealth. Even those who tithe should understand that God claims ownership of one hundred percent of their money, not just the ten percent. When you spend your money as if it were your own, then you are not practicing biblical stewardship. You are acting like a secular believer and not like a true Christian. (Would Jesus say you’re a generous, sacrificial giver, and not just out of your surplus?)
My blog next week will explore ways all serious Christians can guard ourselves against drifting into secular Christianity.
How following Jesus works in real life.
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