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Fifty Shades of Beige

Christian leaders and pastors have been speaking out lately against a new, fast growing genre’ of novels which have been labeled, “mommy porn”. The most popular title is 50 Shades of Gray. The three book series has sold more than 65,000,000 copies! It’s filth! (At least, that’s what I’m told by people I respect.)

However the greatest danger to the church and you and I personally, isn’t porn or sex – it’s beige, religious Christianity. Jesus himself warns us of this sin by way of his warnings to the church at Laodicea, when he said, “So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16

Nobody wakes up one morning and makes the decision to be a lukewarm Christian. 

“So, I have a theory. I think we Christians who were once on fire for God often slowly and unconsciously drift toward religious activities, even good ones because they’re relatively convenient and culturally acceptable forms of obedience. It’s a “faith” we can schedule into our busy lives.

  1. Sundays, 10:00 a.m. worship

  2. Drop our offering in the plate

  3. Adult Sunday School, after worship

  4. Bible Study on Tuesdays at 8:00 a.m.

  5. Volunteer in the Children’s Ministry on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

It’s a form of spirituality that we can measure ourselves and others by. It’s familiar and predictable and it still leaves 95% of our waking hours just for ourselves.”

Sound familiar?

Have you ever sat in church, wondering whether the person next to you is as bored with their Christian life as you are with yours? I did. Of course you don’t ask them, because good Christians shouldn’t even think like that. You’d never walk away from it – after all, you love God. You believe the gospel. You enjoy the people at church.

You belong.

You hear inspiring stories of super-Christians leading people to Christ, or going off to Africa drilling for clean water, or doing other great things for God. You’re happy for them, but by comparison you feel spiritually lifeless.

You’ve prayed for the Holy Spirit to rekindle the fire. You’ve been in and out of Bible studies, you volunteer in ministry, you’ve stopped and started reading through the Bible a half-dozen times. You’ve asked yourself if it could be your lukewarm friends, your daydreams of another life altogether, some secret sin, or some deep wound from the past – the one no one but God knows about – that’s holding you back. You’re frustrated because you truly want a more vibrant faith, but you don’t have a clue how to get there from here.

– excerpts from the new, revised The 10-Second Rule

So, at the beginning of a new year, what will it be – another year in the religious gerbil cage or a breakout year for you, spiritually?

The Question

There’s an important question I ask in my book, that gets to the heart of the religious dilemma. Would the people who know you best consider you a Christian or a follower of Jesus? (I’ll blog more on that question next week.) Most of us would like to think of ourselves as followers of Jesus, but what exactly does that mean in real life?

A dozen years ago I met a man named Bill Job, a former pastor now a businessman living in China. So, I asked him to define what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. “Clare, I can’t define it, but I know how you can become one and stay one – obey the 10 second rule. “What’s that?”, I asked.

Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do. (and do it immediately before you change your mind!)

“Clare, if you live like that, obeying Jesus daily for the rest of your life, trust me, you’ll end up a follower of Jesus.” Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

But, how does that actually work in real life? Answering that question is the reason I wrote my book. Remember when Jesus said in Matthew 6 not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself? It’s as if Jesus is saying to you and me, “Just start here today. Don’t over-think my instructions to you – just trust me – do it!” When you and I stop trying to schedule obedience into our Christian life and simply follow Jesus daily, hourly and in the next 10 seconds, then we’re actually following Jesus!

The 10-second rule isn’t a magic bullet, or a gimmick to tweak your obedience skills some. The Rule simply gives you a place to begin again following Jesus, right now – today and whenever you find yourself drifting spiritually – beginning to turn varying shades of beige!

So, even as you’ve been reading this blog, has the Holy Spirit been impressing you to do anything? Do it right now, even before you finish reading. “Just do the next thing…”

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

Question: If it isn’t the 10-second rule, how would you tell someone to begin following Jesus?

Following Jesus in Real Life

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