A Cure for “Beige, Secular Christianity”
Last year, I spoke at a women’s conference, sharing my spiritual journey from beige-Christianity to actually being in love with Jesus. A woman a few rows back, had a sad look on her face and I wasn’t surprised when, during the Q and A time, she asked the first question.
“My husband is a beige Christian, at best. What advice do you have for helping me, help him?”
I told her the truth. I’m not sure anyone can cure anyone else of lukewarm, passionless Christianity, or if you can even call that Christianity. Only the Holy Spirit’s conviction can do that. However, if you know, or suspect, that you, or someone you love is just going through the motions spiritually, and is open to breaking free from that, here’s my best advice to jumpstart your spiritual life;
Read one chapter of the book of Luke, every day for the next 30 days. As a child, I went to a Christian school and college, but had never read an entire book of the Bible, that was not a homework assignment! I do not know a single spiritually mature person who does not read the Bible regularly, (generally daily) and I doubt you’ll be the exception.How can you know God’s will for your life, without downloading that information and truth regularly, reading the Bible as God’s game plan for your life? But before you begin reading, pray this prayer; “God, teach me everything you want me to know and give me the courage to live it out today!”
Begin praying throughout the day about everything. My first spiritual mentor suggested I pray at least 15 minutes a day using the ACTS principle of prayer and that simple decision transformed my prayer life. Adoration – Praise God. Confession – Confess every known sin and ask the Holy Spirit to give you both the will and the power to stop sinning. And forgive everyone who has sinned against you. Thanksgiving – Thank God for everything! Supplication – Ask God boldly, for whatever you or others need.In addition to a 15 minute block of prayer time, he recommended that anytime I felt thanks, or stress, temptation, or thought about God, that I talk to him about it, right then and there. So, I began doing that and again, it changed my prayer life! I learned that God desires to communicate with me anytime and often. I’ll bet you text or Instagram your best friends often, and because you do, they know you care about them. God feels the same way.
Begin living out what Jesus taught, as if it were true. I used the words, “as if” for a reason. At the beginning of this experiment of following Jesus, there will be some doubts. You may even doubt some things Jesus said are true, or that you can live it out consistently. You have those feelings because your faith is weak and it will stay weak until you begin trusting God with every facet of your life. So, move forward, “as if it were true” because those of us who’ve lived through the same journey of doubts, know that it is! A faith that does not compel you to occasionally risk personal loss or appearing foolish to your friends isn’t Christian faith at all.Naturally, I’d advise to begin living by the 10 second rule. Just do the next thing Jesus wants you to do – and do it quickly before you change your mind. There’s a story summary of the Rule on my website. (https://www.claredegraaf.com/10-second-rule/) The “rule” isn’t complicated. It’s following Jesus made simple.
Begin spending less and giving more. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21Jesus didn’t give us this command because his kingdom had a cash flow problem. He knew what we all know, that coveting more than we need cripples our spiritual growth and living simply and giving generously is the cure.Start small. A friend of mine, right out of college, began setting aside weekly 4% of his take home pay. Then every year he increased that by 1% for the next 30 years. Now he’s giving away 1/3 of his income and barely notices it.
Another idea is to establish a personal budget for your lifestyle, index it for inflation and give 50% of the rest away. Sound impossible? Jesus doesn’t think so, if we claim to love God more than anything else. Every believer must address this truth. “You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24bThe best book, besides the Bible, I’ve read on this subject is Generous Living by Ron Blue.
Make God look good. Make this your personal mission statement; The purpose of my life is to make God look good.Please take 10 minutes and read Colossians 3:1-17. I call it the great “put off and put on” chapter of the Bible. The imagery is of taking off the clothes of sinful behavior so we don’t embarrass God or ourselves. Then the imagery shifts to putting on those virtues that mark us as belonging to Jesus.This is my personal life verse that reminds me of why God has me on earth.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
These five simple things, if done consistently will transform your life. What could possibly hold you back from beginning today?
Question: What other advice would you give a “beige Christian” in your life?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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