A decade ago pastor Francis Chan wrote his signature book Crazy Love. I finally caught up with my reading of it recently. His work is an attack on lukewarm Christianity which he sees rampant in the American church scene. Such a message can easily become mere scolding. Worse it can be received as nagging to try harder and produce more results. Not so fast.
Chan takes pains to emphasize his purpose is not to induce guilt or get disciples to produce more in the standard checklist of churchly activities: attendance, devotions, giving and serving. It's really about love--”crazy”, passionate love for our heavenly Father. People who are in love show
it in all kinds of radical ways. It is love the American church needs more than anything else—a deeper and more intense love for God. Chan is clear, he wants his readers to seek love, pray for greater love and hang around people who have great love for God. His book is a call for each of us to carefully examine our own souls. Inspired by Chan, I've come up with a devil's checklist of things you can do to become a lukewarm Christian. Use this to examine your soul and prepare for the New Year 2020.
Gaze into the night sky and refuse to be humbled or amazed.
Don't listen to what the moon and the stars say to you (Psalm 19:1-4)
Assume it doesn't matter what you believe, if you are sincere.
Give no thought to the notion that God is holy.
Assume God is supposed to serve us.
Replace the word “sin” with the word “mistakes”
Think of God as your pet, instead of your owner.
Believe you've got lots of time.
Assume your life is all about you.
Be no more than a nice person.
Be forgetful about God.
Think of spirituality as a list of duties instead of consuming love for God.
Accept the notion that God wants just some of you.
Believe you've already done enough and you're free to live for yourself.
Believe that God loves us only for what he can get from us.
Be satisfied with yourself but not with God.
Stifle any desire to share in the sufferings of Christ. (Philippians 3:10)
Give to charity/church only when you have extra or it's safe to do so.
Believe the Bible is incoherent and judge for yourself what is right or wrong.
Believe in the idea of minimum requirements and set your sights on them.
Measure your moral choices by what is popular.
Consider salvation as no more than a “get-out-of-hell-free” card.
Never invite anyone to church.
Gauge your goodness by comparing yourself to the secular world.
Make Jesus a part of your life but keep control.
Love others—but not as much as yourself.
Think about your time on earth constantly; rarely about eternity in heaven.
Be thankful for your luxuries—rarely consider huge gifts to the poor.
Remind yourself every day that you are good enough.
Play it safe, never make a sacrifice to serve God.
Structure your life so that you never have to live by faith.
Don't let your life be too different from the typical unbeliever.
Focus on specks in other's eyes and pay no attention to the logs in yours.
These are the makings of a lukewarm Christian. Chan has convicted me. In 2020 my aim is to increase my love until it is a crazy love for God.