Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Frilly, Luxury Christianity: A Modern Day Plague

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26

There's a plague going around! It's contagious. Everyone seems to have it. It seems normal to have it, it's long lasting. Very few fully recover. What is it?

Wanting Christianity to be cute, popular and frilly.

Jesus lived His life as a no frills kind of man. He did not walk the earth in search of possessions. He did not partake of the best things money could buy,  the latest and greatest of mans inventions or every good thing this earth had to offer. 

His life was lived with purposeful intent each day to accomplish God's plan for Him. 

He was not popular.  He challenged the traditions of man that were contrary to God's word. People loved their traditions more than they loved God.  "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

He lived a very humble and simple life by the standards of men.

He taught that spiritual riches are what we are to pursue and that only pursuing the material is vain.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

He was a humble carpenter, working with his hands. Yet He possessed the greatest riches the world has ever known. Being the son of God. The Savior of this world. The greatest King this world will ever know is Jesus.

"But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” Luke 22:69

 He died on the cross at the age of about 33 years old! He took no possessions with Him. 

We go to church, we worship with the worship band. We wear our nicest, most fashionable clothes, or whatever seem to be the styles of our church. We sit in cushy chairs. Buy a nice latte or cappuccino after church. We listen to the pastor's comedic jokes and laugh. We feel good about ourselves that we are Christians. There are a  few members that are humble, not so nicely attired, don't drive the nicest car--- do we get to know them, or do we scoff at them? Do we only like the "shiny" people? The ones with the shiniest clothes, cars and homes. The ones who are safe. The ones who don't seem "overly religious."

Do we fear man, or do we fear God? Do we go to church to hang out with a cool crowd? The ones who live in the nicest neighborhoods?

We've done our duty! We've gone to church! We've worshiped God! But have we? Have we adored God in our hearts? Do we have any idols above Him?  Did we pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10  Do we only go for the cushy seats and cappuccinos and because church is easy?

We go home to the nice decorations on our wall. The decorative plaque that says "God is love" or "God is peace." The nicely designed decorations that show our faith.

We plan our vacations, check facebook, go shopping. Turn on our air conditioning, eat a nice meal, and add things to our amazon wishlists. 

None of these things in and of themselves are wrong. We are only mistaken when we expect Christianity to be served to us on a nice silver platter. It's supposed to be frilly, silly, cutesy. A nice song here, a nice decoration there, a good book every once in a while. "Let's not get too uncomfortable," we say. "No need to change our life on account of this Christianity thing." "I don't want to seem too religious to others. Oh sure, I accepted Jesus into my heart. I'm saved!" "I don't want to look different, I'll just make mainstream choices. Everyone else is doing it!"

If we are trying to still be popular while being a Christian we are getting it all wrong! Many times in history, it has been a crime to be a Christian. Christianity isn't a popularity contest. We aren't going to win a nice sash and a nice crown while the crowd cheers.

Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified upside down. James was put to death by the sword. James (the brother of Jesus--not the apostle) was beaten to death with a club by his enemies. Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

They don't seem to have thought that following Jesus was going to lead them to a luxurious lifestyle. We don't see any of them ever having their eye on popularity and being the most liked. They followed Jesus, they followed God--they did what was asked of them. They furthered God's Kingdom.

They have gained riches that are beyond what any of us can imagine. Their treasures have not rusted. They are right now, today, alive with Christ. They are living in the most luxurious palace this world cannot even begin to imagine. The Kingdom of Heaven.

 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19

Where our treasure is...there will our heart be also. When we know where our treasure is we know the truth of where our heart is. Is our heart set on a frilly, luxury, cutesy Christianity? A perfectly comfortable life? Do we consider our treasure our popularity, our homes, our cars, our coasting through life?

Our heart should be with God, and God alone. The fire of God's love burning away the layers of our hearts until we are left with a pure heart, walls broken down, so that we can truly see God. 

Jesus saw God this way. He did not live a luxurious, comfortable life. He knew little earthly comfort, but He knew the comfort of God. He knew where His treasure was and that is what He followed. He never once promoted a Christianity that was all frills.

Readers, what are your thoughts?
"...and he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts." 1 Kings 8:23

"...and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Matthew 24:30

"...and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7:56

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." 1 John 3:1 




  1. Amen! I've recently been convicted of my own lack of humility. I want to much for and of myself! I love the truth of this post. I don't need to be shiny!

  2. I think you are...right. I have recently experienced what happens when you make Christianity more than the good feelings and everybody is happy thing. It's called persecution. That is why people want to keep it cute. Because when we really live it out...we will probably be treated like Jesus. I guess we all must ask ourselves---"Do we really want to follow Jesus?"