Excerpt from Craig Groeschel’s Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working (eBook).
An oxymoron is two words that are opposites blended together. Jumbo shrimp. Government efficiency. Microsoft Works. If there is one oxymoron that is above all others, I’d argue it is lukewarm Christian. What is a lukewarm Christian? It could be described as someone who believes in Christ but is no different from people who don’t.
To be a disciple of Jesus, to be one of his, means to die to ourselves and to live holy unto him. How can we be half-hearted about the one who bled and died and rose again so we could know God? …
When I read about the people of Laodicea, I can’t help thinking of our world. The stadiums, the theaters, the malls. It’s so similar to theirs. It’s easy to believe in God in [the United States]. It’s almost more difficult to serve him genuinely when our lives are so easy. In other places in the world, it’s just the reverse. Because there’s such a steep price for following Jesus, there’s no choice but to live a radically different life. There’s no way to be lukewarm in such cultures…
It’s harder here in our country, where you can sort of believe and still blend in. This is the basis for my concern: you can be lukewarm and not even know it. Worse yet, you may know it … and not care.
We still want to be richer. Because if we are, we don’t need God. Anything we need we can design, build, or buy.
Maybe you feel like you have enough of God as long as the economy is okay. Honestly, even in a slow economy, we’re still rich. As we talked about earlier, people who live a normal life have all their basic needs met as well as the riches of opportunities denied to those truly impoverished. Yet we still want to be richer. Because if we are, we don’t need God. Anything we need we can design, build, or buy.
This is the same message Jesus drives home to the Laodiceans [in Revelation 3]: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17). Is there such a thing as a lukewarm Christian? Can those words go together? I’m not sure. This passage doesn’t sound like it…
Turn Up the Weird
There is hope. The Laodiceans claimed to believe in Christ, but they were lukewarm. God was about to spit them out. But just a few verses later, in Revelation 3:19–22, Jesus says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” …
If you’ve been lukewarm, if you’ve been normal or comfortable, he’s knocking on your door. He wants you to let him in…
If you’ve been lukewarm, if you’ve been normal or comfortable, he’s knocking on your door. He wants you to let him in — all the way in. He desperately wants you to know him. So many people believe in God, but they don’t really know him. And because they don’t really know him, they are lukewarm. The truth is, if you truly knew him, you couldn’t be lukewarm or halfhearted. If you remain lukewarm, maybe it’s because you don’t know who God really is.
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Beginning and the End. He is the First and the Last.
He said, “I am the true vine,” “I am the door,” “I am the gate,” “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” “I am the bread of life,” “I am the good shepherd.” Who is he? He is the one who was humble enough to come riding on a donkey. And yet, when he returns, he will be riding a white horse, wearing a robe dipped in blood. On his thigh will be written, “The King of kings and the Lord of lords.” Out of his mouth will come a sword with which to judge the nations. He is the lion and he is the lamb of God. He is the one who was without sin, born in a cave, so that no one would ever feel too low for him. Yet he called the religious people a brood of vipers. They didn’t get him. He told the sinners, “I love you.” He told the rich it would be hard for them to enter the kingdom of God. He is the one who was beaten and bled and suffered and died and rose again — so that we could have life…
When you know him and follow after him… [you] find yourself more uncomfortable being normal and more comfortable being weird. You realize that the things of this world will burn away. No one wants to be foolish enough to sell out for something that won’t last. Instead, you’re heavenly-minded. You set your mind on things above. Because of that, you’re radically generous. You see your money and possessions as tools for you to use to advance his kingdom, to bring glory to him. When you do sin, you repent. You want to change. But it’s not because you’re afraid he might not forgive you. You know there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No, you hate to disappoint him, and you hate to live in the low life of sin.
The only time you should worry is when no one makes fun of you. If you’re normal, no one will.
But let me warn you. When you escape normal and become a person who is God’s kind of weird, some people will make fun of you. Don’t worry when they do. That’s part of following Christ. The only time you should worry is when no one makes fun of you. If you’re normal, no one will. If you have just enough of Christ to satisfy you but not enough to change you, answer his knock and let him make himself at home with you. You’ve purposefully chosen to leave the broad path. You’re gladly traveling the narrow road. Your journey may seem weird to others, but your destination will be infinitely better than anything a settlefor- normal world can offer. Because you can’t settle for normal any longer. You can’t be normal, because you are getting to know the loving, grace-filled, all-powerful God of the universe. And as you come to know him, you’re becoming like him. The more you are like him, the more different you will be. Weird.
- Craig Groeschel
Learn more about Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working (eBook).
“That’s Just the Way I Am” & Other Self-Deceptions via Craig Groeschel
Take the Christian Atheist Quiz via Craig Groeschel & Zondervan Blog
How to Deal with Toxic Words via Craig Groeschel
(Some styling above is web-exclusive and not included in the text of Weird. Image attribution: By Poulpy (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer’s personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)