I’ve noticed lately that a lot of self-proclaimed Christians in North America practice what I call ‘convenient faith’ – probably because God has been pointing out how often I do so myself!
I define a convenient faith as “a professed belief and trust in Christ as long as it doesn’t require stepping out of one’s comfort zone”. For example, we are practicing a convenient faith when we have attitudes similar to the following:
“I am 100% sold out to Christ, and will do anything for Him – as long as I don’t have to miss my favorite team’s ball game.”
“I am a disciple of Christ, committed to presenting the Gospel to a lost and dying world – as long as all I have to do is give money to others who are actually doing the work.”
“I am a Christian, and follow the instructions of the Bible – as long as I don’t have to speak out against sin. People might say bad things about me if I do.”
A convenient faith is one that claims all the “warm fuzzies” of the Bible (“I will be with you always”, “we are more than conquerers”, “God will provide”, etc.) but ignores and avoids the uncomfortable and inconvenient (“you will have trials”, “men will revile you”, “care for the poor and undesirable”, “take up your cross”, etc.)
A convenient faith is no faith. We are repeatedly called to a life of inconvenience. Just a few passages that do so are Luke 6: 27-36, Matthew 16:24-25, James 1:26-27, 2:15-27, Luke 3:11, Matthew 5:42, 1John 3:17
As Warriors, we are required by our Commanding Officer to daily practice an inconvenient faith – but what does that look like? How do we do it?
It will look different for each of us, but there are some things that we can all do both individually and in community, as we are Biblically called to both an individual and corporate faith.
First, as disciples of Christ, we can practice the rather inconvenient regular disciplines of worship, prayer, study, service, and Christian fellowship. Each of these will be difficult for some, but all are essential.
Second, we MUST be willing to both risk and fail for our Lord and Savior. We must practice listening to and following the leading of the Spirit not only “even if” but “especially when’ it looks scary, weird, or in other ways inconvenient. God is big enough to catch us when we fall and pick us back up; He is also wise enough to know when it is best for both our maturity and His glory to let us fall in the first place!
So, here are some questions to ponder and pray over to get in the mindset of a willingness to be inconvenienced by God:
Am I willing to participate in a ministry activity that isn’t “in my skill set” or is frankly frightening if asked?
Am I willing to change jobs, retire early, quit to start a ministry, or stay where I am in order to do what I believe God is asking me to do?
Am I willing to place ridiculous conditions of price, availability, or other conditions on a purchase – and stick to them – in order to test whether it is something God wants me to pursue if I’m not sure?
Am I willing to write that tithe or offering check BEFORE I pay the bills and buy groceries?
Am I willing to either quit my job or scale back my company’s profitability in order to obey God’s instructions?
Am I willing to love and work with brothers or sisters in Christ that I may not necessarily like much, and do it cheerfully just because God commands me to do so?
Am I willing to consider giving up my favorite hobby, video game, cable TV subscription, or (gasp) even bike (!) in order to more faithfully and diligently serve my King?
Of course, some of these questions won’t apply to you, but at least one will. They’re just a way of getting you to answer the most important question relating to the subject:
How much am I willing to let God inconvenience me?
May you all be blessed, and my you find joy in an inconvenient faith!