This post is the second in a series. You can read the first 16 Signs You May Be A Culturally Captive Christian.
If you read the first post in this series, you have seen several examples of how Christians conform to the world and are “captive” to its ideas instead of the Word of God. This post deals with the same issue–but with an important difference.
Christian communities are filled with sinners in the process of sanctification. Many Christian sub-cultures function exactly like the world–except use Christian labels and generally stay away from the “major” sins. This is to say, that there can be a type of “Christian worldliness” inside of the Christian bubble of a church group, Christian school, or organization.
Many of the things I share are observations from my time in church and at two Christian schools–and some most of which I have been guilty of personally.
As you read through this post, ask yourself where you may be guilty and ask God for help and grace to change. When you’re done, join the conversation in the comments by sharing any additional examples you can think of.
23 Signs You May Be Captive to Your Christian Sub-Culture and Missing True Christianity
1. You quote more Christian songs than you can Scriptures.
2. You rave more about what a Christian book teaches you than you do what God teaches you through His Word.
3. You can talk naturally with your Christian friends about everything–except your relationship with the Lord and His Word.
4.You equate enjoyment of Christian friendships and church activity with a strong relationship with God.
5. You are “gold-digger Christian”–one who only loves God because of what you can get from Him. (HT)
6. You get excited about a celebrity saying they are “Christian” even when their lifestyle says something totally different.
7. You base your faith more on conversations with your Christian peers rather than a diligent study of the Scriptures.
8. You avoid practicing many spiritual disciplines because you don’t want to be “too legalistic.”
9. Your pursuit of holiness mainly involves staying away from “big” sins and anything that would hurt your reputation in front of other Christians.
10. You base your theology on popular “Christian” sayings like “Let go and let God” more than on Scripture.
11. You repent just enough to feel better about your sin and be happy again than you do to please God and show Him how sorry you are for your sin.
12. On a missions trip, you are more concerned with great Instagram photos of yourself with those you serve than you are about having a lasting impact.
13. You get more upset about how others act in matter-of-conscience issues like drinking or entertainment choices than you do your own sin. (See Romans 14.)
14. You know more about your favorite Christian band/author/athlete than you do about the Apostle Paul, Moses, or Christ Himself.
15. If you have accountability, you care more about not being embarrassed in front of your partner than you do about offending a holy God with your sin.
16. You think you never gossip–but don’t realize many of your prayer requests, complaints about people, and questioning of leadership are gossip.
17. You have a consumerist approach to worship where you need to “get something out of worship” at the Sunday service instead of pouring out your heart in worship to God.
18. You are quick to rave about your pastor’s great preaching instead of revel in the greatness of God and how He speaks through His Word.
19. Your definition of fellowship is anything done with other Christians–regardless of any mention of the name of Christ.
20. Dating anyone is OK as long as they are a Christian and go to church, regardless of their true spiritual maturity.
21. You think your service for the Lord should earn you His favor instead of serving out of a joy that you already have His favor by being clothed with Christ’s righteousness.
22. You are more worried if a band labels themselves as “Christian” than you do if their lyrics and music develop a deeper passion for Christ in your life.
23. You listen to the popular lie that church attendance is not vitally important for Christians but merely one way of connecting with God.
Did you enjoy that list? Truthfully, I actually hope you didn’t. I hope it grieved your soul like it did mine as I wrote it and brainstormed how I have slapped a Christian mask on my worldliness.
So quickly we can fall away from God! So quickly we can turn to idols and be influenced by others more than God’s Word! So quickly we can be satisfied sitting in the mud making mud pies than we are to pursue the greatness of God and behold His incomparable wonder (to quote C.S. Lewis).
What’s the remedy for “Christian” worldliness?
The book of Romans provides us the answers which can be found on either side of the command of Romans 12:2 “do not be conformed to this world”:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:1-2).
The fuel for our obedience for God and our non-conformity to the world is based on the finished work of Christ on the cross. This is part of what the “mercies of God” refers to 12:1 (that also refers to all of Romans 1-11). Dwelling on the mercies of God will remind us what is of “first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3)–God saving sinners and reconciling us to His family by the blood of Christ–and is what motivates us to:
- live lives of spiritual worship
- deepen our understanding of God’s purpose for the church and Christian community
- enrich our spiritual friendships
- help us be more gracious with others, and
- avoid many of the traps of Christian worldliness
Christian–be intentional about renewing your mind in the gospel. Make it a daily and moment-by-moment practice like staying hydrated or breathing. Fear the Lord and make your relationship with Him more important than anything else in your life.
Seek the things above and pray for God’s transforming grace to impact your life in a way that will help you break free from captivity to the Christian sub-culture to live a holy and acceptable life before God. You’ll be glad you did.
Which of these have you been guilty of too?
What are other ways you have been a worldly Christian?