Inconsistent Fruit – Shock and Awe

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Inconsistent Fruit

Recently my son asked that i read a book that he and his pastor were reading together as a study. i was impressed that he made the commitment to read it and that even after his pastor departed from it, my son finished it. i really didn’t want to do it as i am very selective about what i read… with the caveat, when it suits me. i decided to read it as he had read some things i had asked him to and again just by the fact that he made the commitment and kept it to the end, i needed to suck it up and read it. i made a slight change and purchased the video to watch verses actually reading it. i did purchase the book and the work book which he had no idea that there was one. i watched the first session and was less than impressed, but still curious as to what this book would say to keep my son so interested. i then scheduled three nights where i would show the video and invite others to join me. i must admit that i thought this was very seeker friendly and probably light for those that decided to join me. This material while being light was heart stirring and in the video series there is a session that is not in the book, which amazes me as i thought it brought all the rest together. It is out of that session that my heart has been stirred. In the work book there is an assignment which we did not officially do but conversed around it and then let it go. Later i received an email asking to be forgiven for lying because they did not tell us that last session was an eye opener for them. They felt like Craig was reading their life out loud in front of everyone. Then i got comments from others that they too just swept the real thoughts and feelings they had during that session under the rug in hopes that they would just go away. As for me i did the same, i let it pass or i hoped it would pass. It hasn’t and so today i will open the work book and face the music. The book is called The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel and the topic of this session was about being “lukewarm.” The questions are to help me determine if that’s what i am or better yet not if but to what degree i am “lukewarm.” There is a small sense of fear in what the results may reveal and i realize that this is only as good as how honest i am with myself. But that’s the point or at least part of the point.

There are ten questions or statements and i am to answer them with the following choices.

Almost never true of me, occasionally true of me, Sometimes true of me, Often true of me, Almost always true of me.

1. I crave acceptance from people more than acceptance from God. occasionally true of me. i think that it is part of my desire to find significance.

2. I rarely share my faith in Christ. Often true of me. Much of this is due to the circle of people i do life in. i rarely am out…. no this is not true, i am out a lot and as i think on this, i am more likely to share an action that i think represents God more than i am to just talk about Christ with a stranger.

3. I do whatever it takes to alleviate my guilt. Almost never true of me. i have learned to repent quickly and so guilt does not linger. my disappointment with my consistency in doing the word is just that disappointment and not so much guilt.

4. I think more about life on earth than eternity in heaven. Almost always true of me. i have never been a pie in the sky person and my focus to things on earth are usually about being in this world but not of this world. i guess i have always thought that if i live each day here on earth in the word then i won’t have to think about eternity.

5. I gauge my morality by comparing myself to others rather than God. Almost never true of me. i work hard to not do this but once in a while i find myself there. Once i see it i am able to correct myself quickly.

6. I want to be saved from the penalty of sin without changing my life. Almost never true of me. i am very much aware that without change nothing happens and that my life in Christ will never be experienced to its fullness without change… continuous change… never-ending change.

7. I only turn to God when i am in trouble. occasionally true of me. i spend much time in the environment of God and sometimes that becomes my relationship. Then along comes a circumstance that hits like a ton of bricks and i find myself engaging more in my relationship with Him versus the environment of Him.

8. I give when it does not impinge on my standard of living. NEVER true of me and i realize this was not one of the options. i am a giver and probably give when i should not.

9. I am not much different from the rest of the world. Sometimes true of me. If i consider my whole life i think that this is sometimes true of me. The television i watch comes to mind. Is there anything good on television and the commercials will get you all the time. There are other areas and so in a casual meeting, or one time meeting i’m not sure that i would be found as different from the world. i would hope that in longer lasting relationships i would be found somewhat different.

10. I want the benefits of Christ did without conforming to who He is. NEVER true of me… no almost never true of me. there are moments when i want it for free or i want it to be easier. There are times when i just want a break for it all… so i think. i am not a person who wants a hand out or something for nothing. i believe in hard work and equal pay for equal work so i recognize the value and respect the pain and suffering that Christ paid for me. i say i want to be like that but given His situation and knowing the cost i can’t say i’d switch places. i can say that while i do not measure up i am in awe of the love that God has for me as inconsistent as i am.

The words of my lips are “whatever it takes,” but the actions of my life are really “sometimes” whatever it takes. Craig says, “even if i have to fight, scrape, crawl away from being a Christian Atheist, into a genuine life of faith and radical obedience to Christ, I’ll do whatever it takes. Craig sounds absolutely convinced and, well as for me… i say it and have been saying it for years and yet i still find myself to be self involved. It is my opinion that today myself and many others are infatuated with the idea of whatever it takes and short on the reality of what that actually looks like in real everyday life.

There is one last question Craig has for me to answer. Where would i say i am right now? One being, i am not yet ready to make changes in my life and Ten being, i am ready to do whatever it takes to live like i truly love God. At this moment and trying to be totally honest i can’t put a number higher than a six. This brings tears to my eyes and causes my heart to hurt. i am thankful for being presented with this book and called to task. If i could tell the author one thing it would be to put session six in the book as it brought it all together for me and others as well.

i will close with Craig’s closing thoughts. Wholly surrendered. These are beautiful words, nourishing words for a God hungry heart. They mark the beginning of a journey from life as it is, to life as it could be. Welcome to true Christianity.

  1. megan says:

    My heart was broken, grieved and aching at the end of the last session and I envisioned myself asking everyone in the room who appeared so unaffected, ‘Did ANYBODY relate to ANY of these??! Because I am ALL of them to some extent!’ I envisioned myself asking everyone if we wanted to stay and work through this. And then I didn’t do what I envisioned because I reasoned this message only affected those that had ears to hear and it was not my place to judge who had those ears and did not want to appear as arrogant as I have been told before by my assumption that others in the room were lukewarm. I also reasoned that this was a personal decision that would have to be worked out within each individual at their own pace as everyone has their own personal relationship with God. Lastly it occurred to me after nearly 3 years of ‘building community’ with this room full of people, I trusted none.

    I wish I would have done what I envisioned.

    Afterwards I expressed my disappointment and grief that once again we demonstrated the very religious activity we scoff at in others…attending a bible study only to NOT apply what we studied and thereby wasting Gods time and ours. It was met with a couple nods and yeahs. NOT the encouragement I was hoping for.

    And so here I find myself again pursuing God ALONE. Sure, I know (I hope) there are others around me that desire to live Holy before Him who is Holiness…but running in my own lane. Where is the unity of the brethren? Where is the one body, many parts? Where is the strength of one supporting the weakness of others?

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