How do you feel about “halfway” people? Half-hearted, on the fence, lukewarm people? I feel the same way. How about when you are guilty of a halfway effort? Are you proud? Doubtful. Are you regretful? Do you crave another shot at it? Me too.
Halfway is no way to go about life. If we are being honest, we would want our lives to be characterized by “all out,” “all in,” and “all the way” efforts! And when it comes to Christianity, there really is no halfway.
I’m not saying that Christians have to say and do everything perfectly… that would simply not be possible. What I am saying is that as Christians our desire should be to say and do everything in a Christlike manner. And once the desire is in place to say and do everything in a God-honoring manner, we will strive toward that goal and our words and actions will line up more often than not! Since we are members of the human race, and therefore not perfect, our success rate on this God-honoring thing will not be 100 percent. But God is blessed when living for Him is a sincere, whole-hearted effort on our part.
If your child were to proclaim that they cannot possibly get a 100% on an upcoming school exam, would you tell them it is not worth trying to do their best? Would you tell them it is not worth trying at all? Correct me if I am wrong, (and it will be unfortunate if I am) but I believe you would tell your child to take the information they know and put in their very best effort on that exam. It is too late to control how much studying they put in for the exam. However, they can control how hard they try on the test. They cannot control the results.
Are you predicting the analogy I am going to draw? We can control how hard we try to live a Christlike life. We can, from this point forward, control how much we “study;” what I would describe as diving into His Word and spending time in prayer in learning how to become more and more like Him. We cannot control the results as far as how people react to us, what people say about us, and what people think of us.
However, God will be smiling down on us as He sees our heart yearn more and more to be like His Son. And yielding a result like the approval of our Heavenly Father trumps all the worldly results, wouldn’t you agree? The wishy-washy results that waver and shake in this unsteady world leave us insecure and unassured. May we long for the security and assurance of an unwavering, unshakeable God who lavishes a steadfast love on His children.
Why am I advocating for Christians to set the lofty goal of being Christlike? It isn’t because we are to come up with admirable goals. It is because the Bible has many specific references to our lifestyle being an imitation of Jesus’ lifestyle, and also because one of the Bible’s most vital overlying messages is to live our lives in such a way that others will be filled with the longing to know or to become closer to Jesus Christ! 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
We might boldly live out their faith in most aspects of our lives, but hold back one detail or more from complete surrender to God. We think we can handle that one facet on our own. We do not want to bother God with that part…or maybe more likely, we do not want to bother to give it to Him because it might mean we need to bring an end to a behavior that is unpleasing to Him. Unfortunately, we forget that God will give us the ability, self-control, and desire it takes to make changes in that part of our life.
Halfway or lukewarm Christianity is not spoken highly of in God’s Word. Being hot or cold in our faith are both more desirable to God than lukewarm. He would rather see His followers on fire for Him or be outright rejected by us, than to have people claim to be His, and then act like they absolutely have no concern for or interest in what that actually means.
We see it out there in the world, don’t we? Lukewarm or halfway Christianity is prevalent. If we are being honest, we might see it in ourselves as well.
Romans 12:2a says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
I believe it is a daily process, this laying down of our half-hearted Christianity. Let’s spend time in prayer, asking God to help us be the wholehearted Christian He has created us to be. Let’s spur each other on as we whole-heartedly pursue whole-hearted Christianity!
When it comes to Christianity, there really is no halfway.