I was thinking this morning during a conversation with my wife. That happens a lot on Saturday mornings, because we both drink coffee and the kids quiet down as we drive around our side of town and sight see. The thoughts were about people we know who claim to be Christians, and think they are going to Heaven, but who I doubt very much ever talk about, think about, pray to, delight in, or want to obey Jesus.
I don’t know if such people have ever been taught what Christianity really is.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’
Christianity must, by definition, change and even govern a man’s life.
Let’s try a mental exercise.
Picture your life as a house.
Doesn’t matter what kind of a house. Bungalow, cape cod, ranch, I don’t care. Throw a swimming pool in the back if you want. But picture your life, all of it, as a house right now for me.
Got it in your mind? Okay.
Now, ask yourself, if you are a Christian: What is your Christianity in that house?
And be honest. I can’t hear your answer. And just as good for me is the fact that you can’t hear mine.
Is it a trophy on a shelf, sitting there decorating the place and making it slightly more presentable?
Or is it a lovely picture on the living room wall, commemorating a happy time, but a silent picture, not having any voice at the dinner table or any sway in the discussions of the household budget?
Is your Christianity the front porch, laced with Christmas lights so that passersby admire and point and even envy what your house must be like on the inside?
Or is it a bookshelf, filled with knowledge and ideas, kind of the brain center of your house, but not exactly the place you go to when you’re desperate and scared or to celebrate a happy occasion?
Or maybe it’s the security system, set up around your house to keep you safe from what scary, unknown things might be out there in the world. But definitely not something you really have to think about daily or interact with or, you know, enjoy.
Maybe it’s a whole room in your house, a room with a sign over the door that says “My Christian Faith,” and you go in that room every day. I mean every day. The hinges on the door need to be replaced because of the sum total of times you go in and out of there to be a Christian for a few minutes or even a few hours.
What is Christianity in this house that is your life (tucked away in the cul-de-sac at the end of Metaphor Avenue)?
Christianity, true Christianity, demands to be the house itself and the souls inside of it. It permeates everything that takes place inside that home. It is not just the same color paint that’s on every room’s walls, it is the foundation and the walls themselves and the plot of land, it is everything that encompasses the living going on inside that address. It never stops being the very atmosphere in which all the decisions are made, the loving is done, the fights are had, the sins are committed and repented of, the joys are laughed over, the deaths are mourned, the television shows are watched, the lessons are learned, and the prayers are prayed. Christianity is not a part of a man’s life. It is his life. Everything else occurs within it.
Tonight I will watch some TV with my wife. We’ll take the kids to the grocery store. We’ll worship as a family. I’ll sin in anger or fear at some point. Each of the kids will sin at some point. I’ll read some Bible. I’ll pray. I’ll sin again.
All of these things are done within my being a disciple of Jesus. This whole life He’s purchased for me is under His Lordship, His providence, and His love. I feed my soul healthy food when I think of my life as being totally enveloped by Christ, because that is the beautiful truth.
That is what being a Christian is. It is to have a new life, one different from the old, one that He built, then bought, and then paid for.
It is His. All of it.
This life I live has no mortgage. But it’s His name on the deed.