I didn’t expect to start my Friday with a sad discovery. But that’s what I found as I again picked up the book I just started reading, “unChristian; What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… and Why it Matters,” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. This book is based on extensive research by the Barna Group, where they conducted studies to find out what “outsiders” feel about Christians and Christianity.
I’m struggling to find the words to convey what I’m thinking, without coming across as judgmental. By the way, 87% of young adults see Christians as judgmental.
Anyway, the results of one particular survey question left me feeling sad… sad for Christians and Christian churches. The surveyors asked born-again Christians to describe what the most important priorities are for being a Christian. The top of the list was being good and not sinning, followed by discipleship, evangelism, worship, relationships with others, service and stewardship. What made me sad is that I don’t see the most important thing about being a Christian.
Yet who am I to say? I’m no expert. I’m just a flawed human like everyone else. How do I give my answer to this question about being Christian without sounding snotty and arrogant? I don’t know, so I’ll just go for it.
I believe the most important priority for being a Christian is a personal and intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. I believe the most important good deed or form of worship is to give your life, to surrender your “self” to the Holy Spirit, to give control to the Spirit. As Paul said in his letter to those in Rome…
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
The entire Bible is about a personal relationship with God, especially the New Testament. But it looks like Christian churches have not made that clear. And Christians suffer because of that. This too makes me sad.