While I was gone to the Southern Baptist Convention a few weeks ago I was able to catch up on some reading. One of the books I read was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The book is excellent in that it challenges you to go beyond the status quo of Christianity and hunger for an authentic faith that is deeply in love with God.
Chan touches on a lot of important themes in the book. He talks about how our passion for God starts with seeing God for who He is. Most Christians get stuck in the status quo because their God is too small. Chan challenges us to think big about God, which will in turn cause us to be amazed at the fact that we get to have a relationship with Him.
He also devotes an entire chapter to lukewarm Christianity. We all know that we are not supposed to have that kind of faith, but we don't always know what lukewarm faith looks like. Chan (with Scripture references) lists the following descriptions of lukewarm faith:
- They attend church regularly because they believe that is "what good Christians do."
- Give money, as long as it doesn't threaten their standard of living.
- Care more about being saved from the penalty of sin, rather than actually being saved from sin. As a result, they don't geniunely hate sin they just don't want God to punish them for it.
- Are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, but assume that is just for "extreme" Christians.
- Rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends becaues they do not want to be rejected.
- Gauge their own morality be comparing themselves to the secular world.
- Jesus is "a part" of their lives.
- Love others, but not as much as they do themselves. They spend most of their time with people who are just like them.
- Think about life on earth much more than they do about eternity in heaven.
- Will do whatever it takes to keep themselves from feeling guilty.
- Like playing it safe, in fact they even structure their life so that they don't have to live faith.
- Probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever.
I don't know about you, but those are penetrating statements. I think most of the Christians in American can find at least a few of those that relate to their own walk with Christ. May we seek each day to learn what it truly means to take up a cross and follow Him.
One last helpful part of the book is when Chan gives real examples of people lived with a crazy love for God. So often we think that such committment is only for those in the Bible and that no one in the real world lives that way. He shares examples of members in his own congregation and many others to help the reader see that this is the life God has called all of us to live not just a few elite Christians.
I would encourage you to read this book and let God use it to minister to you as you seek to love Him more than ever before.