Gumball Christians

Recently my wife and I were talking about some of the differences we’ve seen between some older movies and TV shows and modern Christmas traditions and the disparity seems to point to a pattern in our society today…

Once upon a time there were tradition of baked roast and cranberries during Christmastime. There were carols and hard work in preparing for a time of celebration and exuberance. Now it seems often instead we do quick cookies and some candy in a dish. In place of elegant table displays we have Santa Claus plastic plates. In place of a grand roast we have gumballs. In place of meditation on the Gospels we have some carols that convey some of the basic meanings of what the Church has celebrated for a few thousand years. It seems like we’ve given up depth for the quick and easy.

In the church too we see this, but it’s not candies in place of a big meal, instead it’s these shallow clichĂ©s in place of deep doctrine and wrestling with the scriptures. It’s “once saved always saved” in place of a doctrine of justification and sanctification to glorification. It’s niceness and pleasantries in place of authentic realness and the pursuit of God and righteousness together. Somethings got to change…

In Ezekiel God says He is looking for people willing to stand in the gap… You have to imagine the complacency in Israel at that time. People were saying God has given up on us, He has abandoned us and left our city desolate. They had intermingled with the nearby cultures and had broken His laws. There seemed no way to them they could be restored so they gave up in their attitude. Even building the new temple was a halfhearted work. So, God began to scan out and look for individuals, people like you and me who were willing to be all out for God. Unfortunately, in Ezekiel’s day God did not find such people (see Ezekiel 22:30-31).

This is why we believe God calls His people to be disciplemakers (Matt 28:19-20). Persons of depth, still growing, who help others to get to a place of depth and as they grow to repeat that process (2 Tim 2:2). That way there are gap-people (AKA disciples) in each place people that will be shining examples amidst their workplace, neighborhood and friends. Showing the world “Hey! This is what following God is like, walk this way!”. This seems like the most prideful thing to the world and our culture today, but scripture says these kinds of persons are necessary (Phil 4:17).

So this Christmas and into the new year, ask yourself “how can I become a person of depth?” What reasonable goals can I set for this next year to develop my spiritual life, my marriage, my family life, my job performance, health and overall? Don’t be a gumball or cookie Christian. Instead have a whole setting others can feast on when they are with you. Be a fountain overflowing with good water and you’ll notice that others will be changed as you display and teach what you have been taught.

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