Are you inoculated? Or infected with the real thing?
A wise mentor of mine one time totally blew my mind by comparing Christianity to a contagious disease! "Many claim to have the disease we call Christianity, but seem instead to have been exposed only enough to be safely inoculated from the real thing."
In the concluding session of Christianity Explored, we'll consider Jesus' own definition of being a true follower. According to Jesus true followers not only embrace the identity of Jesus as the Son of God and God's only chosen King. They also follow him as their leader. Following means two further painful things: i) denying self and ii) taking up one's cross (self denial to the point of dying to self).
The trouble with so many people who claim affiliation with Jesus today is this: they simply don't fit Jesus' own definition of a true follower. They associate themselves with Jesus through an extremely shallow understanding of Christianity. Almost like being injected with a dead virus! The immune system recognizes the attack and quickly summons the anti-bodies necessary to fend it off. On the outside, maybe the person's temperature elevates for a while till the threat has been dealt with. But life as usual resumes now equipped for all future threats of exposure.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:34-35 NIV)
Many who call themselves Christians today are like an inoculated patient. Contending with a mild dose of the virus, but not displaying the full symptoms. Perhaps inducted into the culture of Christian surroundings, but not fully convinced of Jesus identity. Not fully prepared to follow his leadership. Come check out the last session of Christianity Explored and wrestle with what getting the real disease involves!
Christianity Explored meets at Christ Community Church, 9:00 and 10:45 in room D-126.