Something really pressing down on me lately has been the prevalence of what I would best call "lackluster" Christians populating the Church.
You know what I'm talking about: the people who go to church services or attend weekly Bible studies or love talking about how much they love love love God, but outside of church or God-related communities, their "passion" for God is all but nonexistent. They love talking the talk but not walking the walk; they love listening without hearing, watching without seeing, and singing without meaning. I can't say that I've always been exempt from this group -- I think we all fall prey to it every now and then -- but the prevalence of it throughout the modern church (and the seemingly indifference of the church in regards to such a major problem) has been really tugging at my heart lately. In John 6, we see that many people turned away from Jesus because His teachings were "hard" (v.60), and Jesus is absolutely fine with that: He was more worried about the quality of the disciples He produced than the quantity, because quantity did not prove that they truly believed in what they said. Elsewhere, He says, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate (hold no account of) father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters -- yes, even their own life -- such a person cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). However, in the modern church, we see plenty of people living this way and believing themselves to be true followers of Christ. This poem -- intended to be used for Spoken Word -- is a response to that:
What do you mean when you say "I'm a Christian"?
Are you trying to send off vibes, support religion, tell me a lie, or speak of how you're living?
When you go to church on Sunday, do you mean those words that you are singing?
Or do you simply mumble out of memory, playing the part but not believing?
You see, you can call me extreme; I'm totally fine with that—
Shout at me "Grace by faith" and act like what I'm saying here is bad;
But when did saying the word "Savior" come to mean the same as the word "Lord"—
So that you're ready to accept all Christ's saving, but you won't turn away from your sin to be restored?
Sure, I know no one's perfect – believe me, I sin every day,
And yeah, I'm aware that we receive grace through faith,
But the Bible also tells us, "Profess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,"
And call me crazy, but professing isn't the same as merely praying when you get bored.
Christian, oh Christian! Is that even your name?
Because if that's so, then we're family, but I feel that our love isn't the same.
Forgive others and love your neighbor and love God above all else—
These are the core of what we're made of, the very hope that tops the shelf.
So why do we blend into the darkness when we were called to be the light?
Why do we give in when culture beckons, when the cross we bear begs us to fight?
If we're to mirror Him who died for us when he hung up on that tree,
Then why is it that when I look at you, I don't see Him, but a Pharisee?
Don't you see we've fallen prey to the same old act as them,
Forsaking a relationship for religion, forsaking belief for meaningless action?
Singing hymns without meaning, praying without listening, speaking without thinking, raising hands without feeling...
Oh Christian, Christian! Is that even your name?
I'm not going to lie to you… I'm tired of hand-raising, world-chasing, self-praising, iniquity-grazing, eastward-facing, life-wasting, copy-and-pasting, cross-defacing people who call themselves Christians.
My friend, don't think I say this as if I'm the perfect man—
I've got flaws, I've got issues, I've got my struggles, my own flawed plans—
But the difference here is that I strive to repent and be made whole
I fight the battle each and every day to love right and give my all.
I'm not trying to point my fingers here; no, I'm holding out my hand,
Cause when Jesus said to "Follow me," He was making no small demand.
So when you sing "I surrender all" or "Hallelujah, God be praised,"
Ask yourself, "Do I mean those words or are they empty sounds, a waste?"
Do you know what it means to surrender all? Cause I don't think you do:
Imagine being stripped down and flogged and then nailed to a cross – are you willing for that to happen to you?
Stop saying "I surrender" when you mean "Just for this night" and stop making empty promises that fade away with the daylight. Stop acting like you've got it made or that you're always right; stop calling yourself Christian unless you've truly joined the fight!
Will you stumble? Yes; expect it, too, for that's how this life works,
But grace by faith doesn't give you permission to go on living like it wasn't earned.
So you prayed a prayer, that's all you need, now you can go on living like you did before?
By no means, my friends! You've misunderstood! Satan is crouching at your door!
The prayer only works if you mean those words and believe in what God's done,
That He came down on this earth and died for your sins, and thanks to Him you can be His son.
Stop running away, prodigal! Give up the act, Pharisee! Come and follow the one true Way,
So if I asked you now what it means to be Christian, oh, my friend, what would you say?