Many kids grow up thinking Christianity is about a formula.
Go to church.
Read your Bible.
The thought is simple: as long as you’re doing these religious tasks, you are “ok”.
If that’s your thinking, I’d say this to you:
Christianity is not about religious tasks, it’s about a person.
Our Christianity is defined by who Jesus is!
Is he our friend? Our Lord? Our King?
Do we follow him?
Consider Abraham, one of the first Yahweh followers in Scripture.
Abraham didn’t own a Bible. The Bible wasn’t even written yet.
We know from the Scriptures that he was a sinner. The guy constantly threw his wife under the bus to save his own skin and ended up sleeping with his maid because he doesn’t have enough faith that God can help his wife get pregnant.
And yet…Scripture tells us Abraham walked with God.
He talked with God.
He followed God.
And he obeyed!
Not always perfectly, mind you, but his heart was “I want to do what my God calls me to do!”
I feel like I see many Christian kids (especially in the Calvary Chapel culture that I live in) get discouraged and feel like they can’t cut it as a Christian because they struggle to live up to “the standard”.
They think Christianity is following the rules and measure their “Christian success” by the amount of the Bible they read a day.
I want to really emphasize something: Christianity is not measured in how much you read the Bible or pray.
There are people out there who read and pray every day out of a sense of religious duty, but there’s no actual change in their heart or mind because they aren’t actually allowing Jesus to be Lord.
They aren’t reading because they want the words to change their life.
They are just reading because it’s “the right, religious thing to do”.
Reading and praying are good things. I highly recommend them. But they aren’t the answer to the question “what is Christianity?”.
The main question that concerns Jesus is not “how much for the Bible did you read today?”.
He’s much more concerned with the questions: “Are you my friend? Am I your Lord? Am I your King? Will you trust me? Will you do the things I’m calling you to do?”
In the youth group that I led in Southern CA, we had a saying:
If Jesus is king, that changes everything.
Obedience is one of the key marks of the Christian life.
Are you obeying his call to step out in faith and do the things he’s calling you to do?
Are you laying aside the specific sins you know He’s been gently calling you to lay down because He loves you and knows how much sin hurts you?
When you leave a sermon, do you walk out of the church walls with a heart that says “I want to DO what God just spoke to me about”?
Obedience is hard. But it’s so worth it if you’ve been stuck in a cycle of believing the lie that Christianity is just about checking off those tasks.
I’m inviting you to step out into something deeper. If you’re reading this, please spend some time with Jesus today and just ask Him: what are you calling me to? Then listen and trust that He will speak.
The kind of Christian life Jesus wants for us is one marked by deep friendship with God.
One where you understand that you already have His acceptance and don’t need to earn it!
I don’t know about you, but when I understand that, it makes me actually want to pray, to read Scripture and to enjoy fellowship with other Christians!
Then, on days when I don’t live up to these ideals, I no longer feel like a failure or a sub-par Christian.
I realize now that Jesus is always with me whether I’m working, eating, sleeping, at church, out with friends or by myself. He’s always there and always inviting me to realize He is present.
I’m praying that a generation of Christians will open their eyes to the amazing feast of mercy and grace that Jesus prepares for them daily.
It’s there, we just need to come to the table.