There was an interesting discussion over at Wally’s, a bit of humor about how one does not become a Christian simply by going to church. That led to some talk of pew warmers, pew warmers being a bit like bench sitters at a softball game. There are some people who spend their entire lives in churches and yet never really get into the game. But what is “the Christian game?” It’s a great question, one that’s hard to define sometimes.
First off pew warmers, bench sitters, are not all bad. You can be sitting on the bench because you have an injury. You can be resting in the Lord and waiting to heal. You can be there to cheer your teammates on and provide some encouragement. Maybe you’ve been in the first half of the game and you’ve been rotated out for some rest.
But that’s not what comes to mind when I think of “pew warmers.” Pew warmers tend to come to church as part of a ritual rather than a relationship. They seldom read the bible, they tend to feel unfed, they go through the motions of religion with none of the intimacy that comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’ve talked to some pew warmers who speak of having been asleep for some 20 years, going to church week after week, but never really knowing the Lord. These people have gone on to eventually wake up, with much wonderment and delight, as in “Lord, I never knew you!” He can be full of surprises, He can take your breath away. There have been a few times He has simply leveled up the entire game and left me thinking, wow, last week I didn’t even know what faith was.
But what is the “Christian game” and how do you get in it? How do you get out on the field and start playing? I really don’t know, it’s a bit different for everybody. There are different positions out on the field, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. There’s not a one size fits all solution here, the goal is simply to get off the bench and get in the game.
I really believe in the sinner’s prayer, something you won’t find in the bible, but there’s something supernatural about the simple act of admitting you are a sinner in need of a Savior and inviting Jesus Christ into your life. That is often the first step in the journey, the start of spring training so to speak. I sometimes say Jesus Christ is the ultimate gentleman, as in He will respond to a gracious invitation, but He must be invited. If your desire is to build an intimate relationship with Him, than He must be invited again and again, His presence requested each day. He is always there, He will not leave you or forsake you, but He also desires to be pursued and graciously invited into every area of your life.
I’m sure that sounds a bit romantic, but I am a girl, that is simply how these things work. If you prefer, you are inviting in a head of state, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, but a King who will call you brother, One who will make you family.
That can be a challenging concept for people whose thinking is more concrete, reason based, people whose feet are firmly planted in this world, but I have to say, following Jesus Christ is still a spiritual pursuit. You simply cannot have a relationship with Him without intimacy and spirituality, however that looks in your own life.
The Christian game, it means to go out on the field with His presence in your life, it means the entire process of change, transformation, sanctification, metanoia and the renewing of your mind. It is change, action, movement. Stagnant water tends to just smell bad and sit there collecting algae.
The woman with the perfume, the woman who loved Christ so extravagantly, she gave all she had, she broke an entire bottle of fragrance and anointed Him with it. And the hens clucked, this is irrational, this is crazy, don’t waste that stuff, we should be saving it for a rainy day, we should be selling it, but that lady knew the rainy day had come, the time to breakout the good stuff was here, that life is not a dress rehearsal.
Some people spend their whole life waiting to get into the game, when on fact what is really needed is to step out in faith and smash an entire bottle of fragrance, go for broke and just love Jesus Christ as lavishly as you possibly can.