The Road to Reality
(from K. P. Yohannan's book, "The Road to Reality")
All too often, we are willing to be 'students of Christianity', rather than
disciples of Christ. The fact is that most are substituting 'learning' and
'information' for practical obedience. Never in history has there been a society
with so much 'information' about God, but so little real knowledge of the Holy
One. Right doctrine without right living is worthless in the sight of God.
Obviously, the gap between Biblical Christianity and the way we live today is a
very big one. The amount of time the average believer spends before a
television, reading worldly novels, and in recreation, is amazing.
We are content to sit in our comfortable pews week after week sucking on our
'spiritual baby bottles', so long as the 'religious entertainment' does not
interfere with lunch or the ball game. This is 'convenience store' Christianity.
The pastor's main job is to find ways to sugarcoat the Gospel message, making
sure that he preaches a gospel that offends no one, and runs a church that meets
every imaginable mental and physical need.
How 'the flesh' twists and turns to refuse the work of the cross! Where are the
believers who will make a deliberate calculation to accept sacrifice and
suffering for the sake of following Christ? Real Christians accept suffering as
a normal part of following Christ. Unless we choose the 'way of the cross' we
will always find ourselves automatically falling into that pattern of
'extravagance' and 'waste' that has become the norm of this culture.
We don't accept 'the nail' because it would mean death to our 'self.' We demand
instead the pleasure our desires for self gratification. And we have found
'shepherds' and Bible teachers who will give us a 'feel good theology' to match
and justify our lives of sinful rebellion. Much of this 'Santa Claus religion'
is centered around a horrible distortion of Bibledoctrine. It denies the demands
of the Gospel and says, "You can have the good life NOW, and heaven besides!" It
tickles our ears to hear this religion taught. It promises us the services of a
god who exists to solve all our problems; making us happy, healthy, popular,
successful and rich. This sounds like the false promises of Baal or the idol
gods of paganism.
It is obvious that Jesus will have no one among His followers who is wanting to
put comfort, family ties or security in this world, ahead of His kingdom. Jesus
is saying in effect, "I offer you what I have; hardship, hunger; labor,
loneliness rejection, sweat, tears and death. I'm a stranger and pilgrim in this
world, and if you follow Me you will have to break away from the clinging
attachments of this present life." There is no place in His band for those who
are not willing to accept inconvenience, sufferings, and uncertainty. This is
still the price of following Christ today, just as it was then.
How many of us need to confess our adulterous love affair with the world? I fear
for the nation and people whose Christian churches have forsaken holiness, and
separation from sin and the world. The 'spiritual thermometer' of most churches
is so low, that a new believer has to become a backslider to feel at home. When
the Lord calls you away from this mess of lukewarm, half hearted, plastic
Christianity, you can be sure that many will say you are an idiot.
"Dear Lord, we acknowledge that our commitment to You is so shallow. We say we
love You, but our actions betray us. Open our eyes so that we see time and
eternity as You see them. Forgive us for forgetting we are only strangers and
pilgrims on this earth. How foolish we are, O Lord, to store up treasures on
this earth and fight to save our lives and preserve them, when You tell us we
will lose our lives if we try to do that. We ask You, dear Lord, to forgive us
and help us to walk in Your footsteps; forsaking all, denying ourselves,
carrying our crosses daily and loving You supremely so Your causes might be
furthered in this dark and dying world. In Jesus' name, Amen."