Monday, March 4, 2013

Chillin Christianity

            A dear young man asked me to share my thoughts on a particular aspect of “Chillin Christianity” (a term I fabricated). The Urban dictionary defines “chillin” as a state of being in a relaxed mode or prolonged satisfactory boredom i.e. not in the process of doing anything worth elaborating upon. A “Chillin Christian” is a spiritually relaxed Christian (as opposed to being on fire for the Lord).
            “Chillin Christians” could come in various forms and sizes, but I am going to attempt dissecting a particular aspect the young man asked me to. Let us consider a Christian actively praying for a favor from the Lord. The Lord favors this person. Subsequent to receiving the favor, he cools down his fellowship with Christ. His prayer life and his Bible reading studies dwindles. In a nutshell, his love for the Lord languishes.

            Let me affirm again that salvation is only by grace through faith in Christ. As long as this person believes in the Lord Jesus, his salvation is guaranteed. The “Chillin Christian’s” intensity of love for the Lord is questioned here. Was he in love with the Lord to begin with? If so, why is this love diminishing? What is the future for this person?

            I wholeheartedly believe in the total depravity of mankind. (I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian, I am a Christian who endeavors to dig deep into the Word by HIS grace to grow in my love for the Lord.) We are sinners from birth. Even after we are “born again,” we continue to sin (Cf Romans 7:14-25). However, our ardent desire and intent is for our sinfulness to decrease constantly by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we live a life of constant repentance for our continued sinfulness, but with the total confidence that we are saved by grace through faith. The danger is that our innate depravity will tempt us to move away from the Lord even after continually receiving blessings. Our depravity is the cause of our spiritual disease – “Chillin Christianity.”

            The Bible portrays this aspect of our depravity through the illustration of the ten lepers, where the nine forgot the Lord after receiving healing (Luke 17:11-19). The one who remained grateful to the Lord was a Samaritan! Out of ten lepers, only the grateful-one returned to the Lord. Do we belong to the ungrateful-nine or the grateful-one? We should intentionally move into a permanent placement in the “grateful-group.” But how?

            I believe “faith” is the antecedent to “love.” In other words, without faith, one cannot love. We can alternately state that love presupposes faith. Without faith, the ten lepers would not have appealed to the Lord for healing (Cf Luke 17:19). I submit that the depraved mind of the nine ungrateful lepers led them to believe that they deserved to be healed, thus bringing justice into the equation. (The question, “why me, or, what did I do to deserve this sickness?” implies the thought, “I don’t deserve this,” which in itself is a very selfish and a proud opinion of a depraved self.)

            Once we firmly believe that justice was rendered to us upon healing, we evade the need to thank the Healer. Our thought could be, “Well, HE has only done what is just and right, so why do I even need to thank HIM?” Thus, I reckon the ungrateful-nine departed from the Healer’s presence for they were unmindful of HIM, since their depravity caused a proud and an inwardly selfish mind. However, their faith is not to be negated. Even though their faith was in the Lord, their selfish and depraved nature prevented them from loving HIM. The depraved mind loves oneself.

            What caused the grateful-one to thank the Lord? I reckon he believed that he was undeserving of the healing. Here is an attitude that is devoid of pride and selfishness. Thus, the grateful mind refuses to focus inward but focuses outward – to the source of healing. Pride and selfishness are nonexistent in a grateful mind. A Christian desiring a grateful mind should PRAY for a miraculous elimination of pride and selfishness from his life.

            When, through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, we displace pride and selfishness from our life, love sets in (Cf 1 Corinthians 13:5). When selfishness departs, the love that sets in us has an object, which is definitely not the self. The object of our love in this instance is the source of our blessings – the Lord! Thus, the grateful life loves the Lord and longs for union with HIM always.

            Permit me to caution you here. Do we speak the following statements?
            1. “This is my hard-earned money…..”
            In this proud statement, there is a colossal conflict between “my” and “hard-earned.” Who gave us the strength to work hard? Who gives us breath to breathe, sanity to think, and strength to move? Is it not the Lord? So if the very basics of our life are graciously offered by God, how then do we stake claim to anything? Please think about this. An appropriate statement would be, “What I have is God’s money, HE enabled me to work hard….”

            2. “I am so happy that I was able to do ‘this’ and ‘that,’ thank God.”
            Please observe the warped wickedness, insane intellectuality, and pigheaded pride in this statement! The owner of this statement deems himself a spiritual intellect that a “thank God” is added to that statement so to be politically spiritually correct.

            I pray this statement from Apostle Paul would contrast our spiritual depravity. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, NIV) A diligent reading of this verse would help us understand that the Apostle Paul undermines himself wonderfully to exalt God. Therefore, an appropriate statement would be, “It is by the grace of God I was able to achieve ‘this’ and that.’ I thank God for choosing me, as unworthy as I am, to accomplish HIS will and purpose.”

            If we do not spiritually discern of the Lord, then we will be spiritually depraved. We are called to pray and pray like never before. The Lord will always answer the desperate prayer of a man in need of deliverance from pride and selfishness (Cf Matthew 7:7). The Lord will fill him with his love and power, so that the praying man will be spiritually aligned with the Lord. Thus the desperately praying man will be on fire for the Lord and never chillin away from the Lord.

            May we always pray to continually eliminate our pride and selfishness so to love the Lord and enjoy HIM forever.

P.S: For those of the Christian Universalistic persuasion, here is another point to ponder. If Universalism is true, then it implies negation of “faith-in-the-Lord-Jesus-Christ-for-salvation-of-mankind.” Why even bother to believe in the Lord Jesus, if all are going to be saved? So my question to you is what is the need for Christianity or even the Bible? 


Benjamin Durairaj said...

wow !!!!....dat just opened my eyes wide open...after reading this i can say with full confirmation that this article describes me...not proud of it but gives me an opportunity to make my self a better person :D

Raj Richard said...

Praise the Lord, Benji! None of us are perfect, I can confidently talk for myself. We are all in the path of growing into the likeness of our Lord. Keep on, brother :) God bless...

Andrew's Walk said...

Awesome, Pastor! Felt spiritually nourished after reading this piece. God bless!

Raj Richard said...

Bro. Andrew, It's only by the grace of our Lord. Thank you for your encouragement.

And btw, my next blog may be quite revolting to many....;)*wink wink*

candida gracias jacob said...

So true....everything we are blessed with is bcoz of god's grace and love and keep failing to thank him continually. We forget that all we have is "his". Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

Sarah Bhuyan said...

Hi all,

It is so true that it is a constant struggle with pride which is ongoing. If we are aware of this internal struggle and acknowledge it I think we are on the way to recovery because we can ask God for his help instead of denial...

Quote from Charles Swindoll's ' The grace awakening' " One of my greatest anticipation is some glorious day being in a place where there will be no boasting, no name dropping, no selfishness. Guess where it will be ? Heaven. There will be no spiritual sounding testimonies that call attention to somebody's supercolossal achievements. None of that !! Everybody will have written across his or her life the word ' grace.'

There is only one password for entering heaven : GRACE

Tower of Babel cannot take us to heaven.

Love you all,

Raj Richard said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Candy. All of us need to be reminded of God's presence and HIS unfailing grace. Bless you in the name of our Lord :)

Raj Richard said...

Thank you for sharing Chuck Swindoll's wonderfully articulate quote, Sarah. Makes us long for heaven more, isn't it? Come Lord Jesus, come! Amen :)