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The Mediocre Christian

 

I belong to a club of bass fishermen. In that club, there are some good and talented anglers. We all make a display of talent, even if we have only modest ability, and boast among ourselves about trophy catches, but at the end of the day it is the Kevin Van Dam=s and the Mike Iaconelli=s, of the Elite Pro Series, who are the real talent.

 

A few, of every profession, make it to the top, the rest, you might say, are only amateurs. Some amateurs, through great desire and drive, will make it into the Aelite series,@ but the vast majority are content to remain amateurs.

 

In the world of bass fishing, mediocrity is acceptable, because amateurs only seek recreation and entertainment, but what about Christianity? Is mediocrity or Alukewarmness@ acceptable to God?  It is readily acknowledged by anglers that there is a certain quality present in the pros, which produce a level of excellence that is missing in the others. But, for the most part, all bass fishermen, pro, amateur, and novice, belong to a fraternity of like minded men and women who all love the challenge of catching bass and accept mediocre performance.

 

Does this analogy carry over into Christianity? Not perfectly, although, the rewards in the professional world are often very great, the penalty for underachieving is only of a temporal nature, possibly requiring the individual to seek other employment. While this is true in the material world, it is not true of the spiritual world.

 

Both worlds have a strait gate, a narrow way, and a broad way. The gate is difficult to get through in both cases and only a few make it. Breaking into the Aelite series@ is a test of both ability and stamina. The same is true of the narrow way. Excellence, in this world or the next, dictates a narrow focus to accomplish great things. When we come to the broad way there is a difference. The broad way in this life may lead to disappointment or a less than satisfactory living condition due to income restrictions, but it does not lead to Hell, and there lies the breakdown of the analogy. You see, there will not be any amateurs, or lukewarm Christians taking up residence in the New Jerusalem, only the Elite will live there. Second best may be acceptable in this life, but it is not acceptable in the next[1].

 

 Mediocrity, A Destructive Mindset

 

According to Wikipedia a mindset is, Aa set of assumptions, methods . . .held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. This phenomenon of cognitive bias (preconception, prejudice) is also sometimes described as mental inertia, "groupthink", or a "paradigm", and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon . . . decision making processes.

On the positive side, a mindset can also be seen as incident of a person's Weltanschauung (worldview) or philosophy of life.@

 

Nowhere in the Scriptures does it even insinuate that mediocrity in our Christian walk is acceptable, yet, that is nearly all we see as the actual experience of those calling themselves Christians.

 

According to George Barna, in his latest report,

 

Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010, AGrowing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.@ AAmericans consider survival in the present to be much more significant than eternal security and spiritual possibilities. Because we continue to separate our spirituality from other dimensions of life through compartmentalization, a relatively superficial approach to faith has become a central means of optimizing our life experience.@

 

Doesn’t it make sense that with decay in eternal matters that there would be an increase in temporal or secular matters, and that matters of faith would become trivial, and have more to do with faith talk than with faith action.

 

Barna also states in his report that,

 

AThe postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.@ AOur biblical illiteracy and lack of spiritual confidence has caused Americans to avoid making discerning choices for fear of being labeled judgmental. The result is a Church that has become tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies. This increased leniency is made possible by the very limited accountability that occurs within the body of Christ.@

 

What Barna say here is not really news. The things he reports have been reported by the spiritually attuned for many years, Barna has just documented the facts. The curse of mediocrity has existed in the Church for many years; it was a cancer that was in remission; it was a plague that lay dormant; it was acceptable sin kept in the closet and out of sight. Barna has reported in the past of the ratio of sins in the Church to the sins of the world, and found them equal. What he was reluctant to report is that if the sins of the world and the sins of the Church are the same, then the obvious conclusion is that the world has successfully infiltrated the Church, at least the visible Church of organized Christianity. Not only has it infiltrated the Church but also it has conquered the organized Church of men. The true Church, the Body of Christ, cannot be conquered.

 

Mediocrity is not new; it was a product of the earliest Catholics under Constantine around 325AD. What the Bible explicitly forbids, Constantine accomplished, in the blending of the profane with the Holy, the uniting of the Church with the state, and the espousing of Paganism with Christianity. These facts are just as valid as the facts of Barna, but rarely spoken of, and for the most part completely ignored, except as a brief lesson in Church history in our esteemed seminaries, universities, and Bible colleges, but never brought forward and applied to today=s postmodern and postmortem Churches of the 21st Century. What Barna is actually reporting is the end of a progressive decay of a rapidly dying body. He is looking for signs of life in a virtual corpse. I do not know of one institutional Christian organization that is not oozing with the festering filth of the world in attitude and mindset. For nearly 1700 years, the Church has been using a template laid down by Constantine, which prostituted the purity of the virgin Church, and all for gaining a middle ground, or mediocrity, between Christianity and Paganism. 

                                                                             

What does the Old Testament show us regarding mediocrity?

 

1 Chronicles 28:9 AAnd you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.@

 

Jer.6:14 AThey dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace.@

 

Isaiah 30:10 AThey say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.@

 

Micah 3:5 AThis is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him.@

 

Hosea 5:3, AI know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.@ 7 AThey have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children@ 13 AWhen Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.@ 6:4 AO Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.@ 7:8,9 AEphraim, he hath mixed himself among the people…@ 9 AStrangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not…@ 11 AEphraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.@ 16 A They return, but not to the most High…@

 

These are just a few of the many verses that show that God is not satisfied with a mediocre attempt to please Him. Today=s Christians are like Israel and Ephraim, they return in great numbers, every week even, but not unto the Lord. They come in with the freshness of a morning cloud, as long as there is plenty of excitement and music, but as soon as just a little heat arises, requiring real trust, they disappear like the early dew. But, where do they disappear to, why, to Egypt and Assyria of course; to the world; they run to world to solve all their problems. The institutional Church has begotten strange children, she has mixed herself among the people of the world, and like a silly dove without heart, without the strength to follow along on the narrow path, she takes the path of least resistance, which is to return continually to the world, where a loud and boisterous presentation is accepted as true Christianity. 

 

Let=s look at the New Testament for words of wisdom concerning God’s desire.

 

Phil 3:14 AI press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.@

 

1 Cor 9:24 ADon't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!@

 

Luke 14:25‑33 AIf anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, >This man began to build and was not able to finish.= Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.@

 

What is the Acost@ involved to follow Jesus? And, what are the terms for peace dictated by the Great Conqueror? It will cost you everything; every cent; every ounce of energy, and every minute of every day; your life is no longer yours. The terms of peace are to lay down your arms and surrender. He will take everything. Your whole existence is the spoils of victory, and you are reduced to a servant, to serve Him forever. In return, He will allow you to live; He will give you life, eternal life as an adopted son, to share in His eternal glory and abundance, and never own anything, ever again, forever. But, He will not accept a compromise or mediocrity in your commitment.

 

Rev 3:16 ABut since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!@

 

Romans 12:1‑2 "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. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is ‑ his good, pleasing and perfect will."

 

1 Peter 2:1‑5 "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.@

 

Ephesians 5:1‑2 "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

 

2 Cor 4:6-12 "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all‑surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."

 

I think that these verses are enough to prove my point as to what God demands, and that mediocrity rules the Church and our lives today. The Church is polluted with the world, its ways, and people, and our individual lives are monuments to hypocrisy of mediocrity, which God everywhere explains, clearly, that He will not accept.         

 

Where have we gotten this idea, which has become a mindset, that God will not judge us harshly for our mediocre attempts to serve Him; it has certainly not come from the Bible, as we have seen? This mindset has come from our parents, Adam and Eve, and has been circulated by millenniums of lukewarm, heartless, false, mediocre religionist, feeding half-baked ideas, and out-and-out lies, about the character of God to a bunch of sheep who were more than glad to hear about God=s new relaxed and moderated nature, who in turn hand fed these false ideas to their families, who in turn have grown up to pastor the Institutional AChristian@ organizations we see on every corner up and down Main Street in the good ole U.S. of A. and in the world.

 

The whole organized Church system, since the time of Constantine, is a gross compromise of the absolute requirements of God, and is traceable by the simplest of historical studies to anyone desiring truth.

 

As stated by Wikipedia, a mindset is, Aa set of assumptions, and methods . . .held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. This phenomenon of cognitive bias (preconception, prejudice) is also sometimes described as mental inertia, "groupthink", or a "paradigm", and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon . . . decision making processes.@

 

The only reason that a mindset is a mindset is because Christians simply will not think for themselves or believe what they read in the Bible. They are content to have someone else feed them or do their Abelieving@ for them. John 7:17 says AAnyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.@

 

To read the Bible verses quoted above and not be shaken to the core could be a sign that you have slipped into a dangerous Amediocre@ mindset. In the world of bass fishing being mediocre is not a problem, but in your walk with Christ it is deadly. Christianity, like bass fishing, has become a source of recreation and entertainment for people who have accepted Aa set of assumption@ about what Christianity really is and what its founder requires. If those assumptions are wrong, and they are wrong according to the Bible, and the penalty for following the crowd is eternal death, doesn=t it stand to reason that more than a little time should be allowed out of your busy schedule to investigate the matter?

 

I know that the vast majority will not investigate these claims because of the conflict with other Amindsets,@ mental inertia, passivity, or lethargy. If the Bible is true then we must all wake up, but there is only one way to find out, and that is to believe what it says is true.

 

God loves us but it does not mean that we can live a mediocre life; we have to discipline the body and mind, and press toward the mark of the high calling. The Israelites were baptized in the red sea and they had shared in spiritual food and drink, the food of angles, but this doesn=t guarantee the promised land; they all perished in the wilderness, remember. "…these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did." To desire evil does not mean to commit murder, robbery, or anything of that kind necessarily. The Israelites' desire was to go back to the world ‑ to Egypt, to settle for something less than the best; to be mediocre. Their heart was still back in the world with the world=s mindset, resulting in Aimmorality… and twenty‑three thousand fell in a single day."  They loved the world, and the world said it was O.K. to hedge their bets by holding back from God, and the world was in those who moaned and groaned that God was too harsh and demanded too much. The world in their midst were those 23,000 who had contracted the fatal disease of mediocrity, who failed to count the cost to build God=s Kingdom. Those 23,000 wanted a kingdom built on a structure similar to the kingdoms of the world, where mediocrity was accepted and encouraged, and they all died, in one day.

 

We Christians don=t want to be Good Samaritans these days; we want to be Mediocre Samaritans, where we only put a bandaid on a situation, then we=re off on our mediocre way, reasoning away God’s intentions for our lives. A mediocre Christian deserves a mediocre kingdom, and that kingdom will be pure Hell.

 

Mat 7:22,23 AMany will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'



[1] This does not mean that there will not be levels of reward and responsibilities in the New Kingdom. It simply means that at some point in the Christian=s journey to the Celestial City that the impression and invitation to give all for the Lord was accepted, and, not only was the invitation accepted, but when tested they proved to be faithful and not liars or hypocrites. 

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