Consumer Christianity

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I’ve been listening to a series of messages from David Platt addressing the scourge of consumer Christianity. It reminded me of something I read from A.W. Tozer a couple years ago. It’s a longer quote than usual, but it is too good to edit. Tozer wrote, “Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster.

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He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness…”

The problem with the modern church gathering is there is too little representation of the true Church. We have convinced generations they are Christians because they raised their hand, said a prayer, walked an aisle, or got baptized. Some consider themselves Christians because they are faithful attendees at their local church. We’ve allowed this illusion to exist. None of these things make one a Christian. At best they make you religious, but what good is that?

Asking Jesus to be Lord of your life doesn’t prove anything. He is already Lord of your life because He is Lord over everything. We don’t give Him permission to be our Lord. He simply is. What matters is what we do with this fact. We can know He is Lord and still choose to reject it is true. It doesn’t change the fact it is true, but we can decide to ignore the truth. My heart breaks knowing there are millions who have consciously made this choice. It breaks even more for those who have unconsciously made the choice.

Which brings me back to consumer Christianity. We’ve allowed people to believe the truth without instructing them on what it means to truly accept the Lordship of Christ. This is what allows us to be saved. It’s what separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Unless we abandon everything to live the life Jesus created for us to live, we will miss the most crucial point of our lives. To be a true Christian is to look like Jesus. It is to do the things He did and see people as He sees them.

Consumer Christianity will allow you to live a comfortable and enjoyable life. It will give you the appearance of a spiritual and religious person. It will not get you eternal life. If we are holding fast to the comforts and pleasures of this world, we are refusing to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. We are clinging to what is worthless now instead of what is invaluable. If we would only release what the world holds as valuable and embrace what is true, we would acquire the most important thing of all – eternal life in the presence of the all-holy God. As Tozer put it, “We can afford to suffer now; we’ll have a long eternity to enjoy ourselves.”