WARNING: Church kids, you may be in grave danger.
In fact, if you were raised in a Christian family, if you were always taken to church, or even if you were homeschooled all your life; your risk for this calamity is exponentially greater.
Because you may have bought into the Idea. That perverse, wrong, dangerous idea that lays its gentle hands over your eyes, whispering sweet assurances into your ear, as it pushes you closer and closer toward the foreboding cliff.
And no, this idea doesn’t have to do with relationships. It doesn’t have to do with schooling. It has nothing to do with your dress, your work choices, or even your vote.
No, this idea has to do with your eternity.
Because you may believe that you have “caught Christianity.”
What do I mean by that? Let me explain. So often we think we’ve filled in all the boxes for being a Christian. Sing the worship songs? Check. Been raised reading the Bible? Check. Read those books on purity and relationships and dress? Double-check.
And so we fill out our little check-lists of what “good Christian boys and girls” are supposed to do, and smugly admire our righteousness. But — in filling out the to-do list, we skip the most important part. In being caught up with laws, we can lose the very purpose and meaning of it all.
Because we’ve gone to church since before we could lisp out “Jesus loves me”, we think we’re Christians. Because all our family are Christians, we think we are Christians. Because we’ve gone to the Christian camps, because we’ve read the Christian books — why, we even wear Christian tee-shirts — we think we’re Christian.
But we are wrong.
Because none of that ever can, none of it ever could, make us Christians. Your pedigree doesn’t make you a Christian. Your friends don’t make you a Christian. No camp, no book, no conference gives you the right to the label Christian.
Just look at Saul. Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised the eight day, as touching the law, blameless. This man had learned under the best of the best, knowing his Bible inside and out, but — he didn’t know God.
And that’s disquieting.
Because that means you can check off all the list, do everything right, be the perfect good church kid — and be wrong. You can know every word of the old hymns, and be lost. You can serve others, and not be reconciled to God. You can memorize hundreds upon hundreds of verses, impressing everyone with your knowledge — and have missed the very Word Himself.
Now don’t hear me wrong; Biblical homes, books, and resources are amazing, wonderful things, which I have been immensely blessed to receive. These are all good, great gifts that God gives us to protect us from many evils. But we humans have a tendency of warping good things. And if we’re not careful, you can give yourself a false sense of security.
Because Christianity isn’t a virus. You don’t catch it by being around others who have it. It’s not something that rubs off on you.
Trust me, I should know.
Let me introduce you to 12-year old me. I was happy, successful, and important, in my little “Christian” world at least. I had won a Bible knowledge completion 3 straight years in a row. I was always the one with the right answers in class. I was committed to not having a boyfriend, I wore long skirts, I fulfilled almost every homeschooler cliché you could think of, I was always the “good girl”, and — I was lost.
Totally and completely lost.
Because I had always been the ‘good kid’ I pridefully told myself that I wasn’t that sinful. I had it all figured out. Because I could impress all the grown-ups with my Bible knowledge and memory, I told myself God would be impressed too. Because everything around me was Christian, my flesh whispered that I must be Christian too.
Closer and closer, ever tighter wove the webs of self-righteousness and deceit.
But God is great in His mercy and love.
I was (and often still am) a sinful, broken, raw, bleeding, tangled mess of fiery hair and strict legalism. But God saved me. He brought light for me to see me who I truly was. And then I could see Him for Who He truly is.
I never have, never will, and never could do anything to merit His love. Yet Jesus was born according to the scriptures, died according to the scriptures, and rose again the third day. My transgressions — anger, hate, envy — He was wounded for them. My sin — self-righteousness, rebellion, rage — He was bruised for it. The punishment which brought my peace was upon Him. Through the gruesome, horrifying death of the cross, Jesus paid and took away all my sins, and rose again, victorious over death, showing Himself to truly be Lord over all. O Death where is thy victory, O grave where is thy sting?
So how, why would we ever regulate this to something that just rubs off onto us? To think our check-lists, our awards, our pedigrees — would be enough to pay for this? No. None of those are not truly worthy anything anyway, much less be able to cover our redemption.
Christianity is not something you catch, because Christianity isn’t a thing. It’s a relationship.
Jesus has promised to be with us, cleansing away all sin, giving us new hearts, and reigning forever with us in the future. But you must choose this. God has opened the door into life, beckoning come, but you have to accept it. Now, I can’t pretend to understand how foreknowledge and sovereignty and free-will all work together. I simply don’t. But here’s what I do know. Your parents can’t push you in. Your church can’t push you in, it’s not something you get sucked into by proxy. Only you.
So when I was around twelve and thirteen, I realized this. My faith couldn’t come from anyone else. I can’t hitch-hike onto someone else’s relationship with Christ. And so I choose, I began, I accepted His gift.
You are the one who makes the choice.
Which is terrifying, but God gave us free will so that love could truly exist, that we could make this wondrous choice. No family’s faith, no friends’ faith, no one else’s faith can save you.
You are the decider of your eternal fate.
So be careful church kids. Make sure your faith is your own.