When a Follower of Jesus Doesn’t Seem To Be Following

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          June 3, 2013

One of the toughest things for a Christ-follower to struggle with is when someone he knows well…someone who has been a follower of Christ, comes to a time when he doesn’t seem to be following anymore.

It is quite convenient at that point for the committed follower to hold to the belief that someone can lose their salvation. It’s the easy way out. He’s in, now he’s out. He’s saved, now he’s not saved. There’s a bad odor present in that. It smells of judging someone’s spiritual condition on the basis of their actions and attitude.

Granted that the Bible talks about faith and actions, but I’ve witnessed a number of followers who can speak the Godly language, quote scripture like an attorney quotes the legal code, testify to God’s provision…and then hold to racist beliefs or a coldheartedness towards the poor.

I believe it is much more difficult, but scriptural, to hold to a faith that is immersed in grace. Grace doesn’t race to condemnation, but rather stays the course with the follower who has seemed to adopt an attitude of apathy.

So what does a Christ-follower do?

It begins with prayer. Cry out to God! Prayer is the seeking of divine intervention and interaction. Sometimes we fall victim to the idea that we have to fix someone. We strategize and come up with a three step plan. Prayer becomes an addendum to the plan.

Prayer is surrendering the person and our thoughts to the Lord. Perhaps God has someone else who will step into the gap…and it isn’t you.

A second step is having dialogue with the person to discover what it is that he believes. What does he believe about faith, how God interacts with us, and his purpose for this life? There’s a lot of weird stuff out there. Most of us have “customized faiths” that we’ve formed around us that best suit our lives. I may have strong beliefs about being stewards of the environment because I do a lot of hiking and backpacking, but doubt that God desires intimacy with me because I’m not comfortable with a faith that involves my emotions. Each one of us, whether we know it or not, has shaped our faith to embrace what we don’t struggle with.

To dialogue with someone who seems to be more interested in NASCAR than he is in having a God thing happen may reveal things that can be slowly pursued. (I want you to notice that I used NASCAR as the example because I have no interest in it. I can not say the same at certain times about Michigan State basketball, fried scallops, and Sunday afternoon naps.)

A third step is guiding conversations with the person about the faith journey. Instead of asking a lot of questions that begin with the words “Why don’t you…” start conversations, or at least the thinking about, with words like “Did you ever think about…” or “Has God seemed to be quiet lately?” or “Do you ever wonder if God is really interested in us?”

Our well-founded concern for the person sometimes causes us to chase him towards the throne of grace, or “guilt him” towards God. Guilt works well in getting out kids to eat their cooked spinach, but does very little good in having someone rediscover the intimacy of God.

Finally, we must stay the course. We see the immediate, but God sees over the next hill. Perseverance is as much a part of running our own race as it is a part of walking alongside someone who is on a different pace. Remember, there are plenty of people who abandon, but few who are willing to stay the course with the person.

Pray long. Be grace. Stay the course.

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Freedom, Grace, Jesus, love, Pastor, Prayer, Story, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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