Temporary Christianity

16Now other are like the seed that fell in rocky ground. Whenever they hear the word, they receive it immediately and joyfully, 17but they don’t have root in themselves, but they are temporary {have short attention spans!}. If trials or persecution come up because of the word, they get tripped up right away.     Mark 4:16-17 (HN)

I noticed in the margin of my Greek New Testament this morning as I was reading this passage that at some time in the last few years I’d written this question:  Do you want to be a temporary Christian?  I think it’s a very good question to revisit.

I’m not talking about someone who quits being a Christian; that would certainly be temporary.  But I think there are many “temporary” Christians who are still church members, but whose spiritual disciplines, enthusiasms, ministries, and even church memberships are tremendously temporary.  These Christians are not folks who reject the word.  In fact, they accept pretty much whatever  word is presented.  They may even be totally enthusiastic about contradictory speakers or writers.  When a new mission program is proposed, they are on fire to spread the gospel to the world.  When someone else points out how the local community is suffering, they are all for putting the local community first.

But worse than that, they have a spiritual experience that endures for the length of a revival, or a retreat weekend, or a period of time when things are going very well at church.  When the revival is over, the retreat ended, or the church slides into more difficult times, they are off to find the next spiritual high.

Now I have nothing against world missions, local evangelism, revivals, retreats, and I love good times at church when you see growth at every service, and new ministry is popping up all over.  But what Jesus is looking for is people who take in all of that and let it take root so that it becomes a permanent part of their spiritual lives.

Jesus is looking for Christians whose love and choices are not temporary.

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