Hey pastor: Why should I do what you preach?

Many times I see these sort of statements on Christian blogs:

“How can we hope to change the world if we do not change ourselves?”

“If you’re not really living it, you’re just a faker.”

“If the church was really Christian, you’d be doing it right.”

“Not loving, then you’re not a Christian.”

“If you were really a Christian, you’d stop spitting on God’s forgiveness.”

“Are you any different than the pagan wicked godless atheist down the street?”

Such similar statements are designed to be in-your-face, edgy, surgical truth bombs that cut straight to the matter. But the harder truth is that we don’t have to do a thing to be real Christians. No Christian has to do anything the preacher says to be real with God. And if you’ve been to church long enough, that makes you nervous.

Preachers will proclaim, “It must be real from the heart. Are you sincerely living out what you believe?” For a while that works. It is so uncomfortable that we think this is how it ought to be; real conviction ought to be incisive, right? But it’s impossible to force a genuine movement of the soul by heaping a guilt trip. Guilt only fuels the moment, not a life. Only God’s Spirit convicts, not our persuasion. To obey God is born of His grace, not guilt.

Continue reading “Hey pastor: Why should I do what you preach?”