Customizing Christ

A year ago, Greg Trimble wrote an article entitled, “Quit Acting Like Christ Was Accepting of Everyone and Everything,” and due to recent events with the Supreme Court rulings on marriage, it has resurfaced. Every once in a while, sometimes a long while, you stumble upon good reading, and this is by far one of the most spot on descriptions of the general community, more particularly the Christian community, when it comes to developing faith in Christ, with the false idea and practice of maintaining lifestyles that do not conform with His gospel.

“Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are on a quest to find a church that can satisfy their innate desire to worship God, and yet at the same time, live the lifestyle that they want to live regardless of how ungodly it really is. Some consider it a great feat to find a church that allows them to live how they want to live, and still feel like they are worshipping God.”

As one who had a desire at a young age to learn about God, I attended several different churches and noticed this very real trend. In some churches it was preached. For them, all that matters is that you develop a relationship with Christ. My personal impression and opinion is that churches want regular attendance, but don’t want to risk losing followers because of offending them with hard doctrine (i.e. enforcing the gospel commandments, repentance, etc.) So long as someone is working to develop a relationship with Christ, their salvation is guaranteed because they believe in Him. While this is partially true, there is a huge misunderstanding.

“Too many people are looking for a religion that is easy. In the world, we are offered instant salvation and taught about a Christ that accepts everyone just the way they are.”

Religion isn’t easy. Following Christ is not easy. If it were easy, we would be perfect, and let’s face it, we are all far from claiming perfection.

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” -2 Corinthians 11:24-27; 12:10. Emphasis added.

The truth is that salvation is indeed found in Christ, BUT conversion is the process that leads to salvation. Conversion involves change. Change that improves. Change that endures.

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a ‘buffet’ that you can compile your perfect plate from. There is no salvation in building your own religion or customizing Christ to suit your needs and wants. The popular trend is to determine how you’d like to live your life and then to conform Christ to that lifestyle. It is done by appealing to Christ’s infinite love and mercy.”

True happiness is not found by “customizing Christ” to fit your own lifestyle. We don’t ask God to align His will with ours, but we ask for divine help so that we can align our will with His. Christ is not customizable. What you see is what you get, and so much the more. Does He love you? Yes. Does he accept behavior that does not fit in harmony with his teachings? No. Will he help you change? There is no doubt. His atoning sacrifice reaches deeper than we can comprehend. His mercy is infinite. There is always hope to be found in Christ.

o-jerusalem-greg-olsen

True happiness is found by following Christ, by striving to live your life according to His teachings, going through the process of conversion – true and lasting conversion. Following the sociological trends of the day brings temporary happiness that has an expiration date. Following Christ brings eternal happiness, even joy.

During times of heated discussion and the sharing of opinions, may we remember that we are a free people. We are free to express our opinions, but remember to do so respectfully. The whole underlying message of this period in time is love. With Christ, love will always win.

 

*Many thanks to Greg Trimble for sharing his thoughts and telling it like it is.

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