Friday, June 18, 2010

Talking People Out of Becoming Christians

For many of us who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, there is nothing more satisfying than leading a person to Christ. After all, the more people we can win to Jesus, the better Christian we are, right? Some people even keep track of how many people they have prayed the sinner's prayer with.

But what might it be like if we tried to talk an inquirer out of becoming a Christian. Sounds strange doesn't it? But hold on. What makes more sense, that they pray a prayer and we hug and welcome them into the family, or that they grasp what it really means to be a Christ-follower? This thought recently came onto my radar screen as I read a little booklet called "The Radical Question" by David Platt. The booklet was a snapshot of his bigger book by the same title.

I do remember as a young pastor working on staff at a church camp. An invitation was given and young people stepped up to accept Jesus into their hearts. Some of what I saw troubled me. I sensed deeply that many of these young people were coming forward just because their friends were doing so and not out of a deep conviction to actually follow Christ. I found myself more than once telling them to go sit down and pray more about not only what they were about to receive (eternal life), but also what they were giving up (a worldly life).

Many years later now, as I read Platt's booklet, I am reminded that discipleship is costly. And maybe as Christians we do a disservice to people when we just try to win one for Christ and carve another notch into our belt. What might our churches, communities, and family life look like if we were willing to completely sell out to a life in Christ?

And as Platt points out, not only does discipleship come at a great cost, nondiscipleship has an even greater cost. The radical question Platt proposes is, "What is Jesus Worth to You?" Can you easily answer that? Yea, me either. But until we give it all to Him, we may be living the life, at best, of a lukewarm, comfortable, Christian.

Radical questions like this one beg for an answer in each of our lives. And instead of getting depressed at where we aren't in the answer, the question challenges me to work even harder at reflecting on my own life and work towards surrendering those things I am still holding onto. What a glorious Savior we serve!

Luke 14:33 - In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.