I grew up in your standard mainstream-Christian home. We were sent to Sunday school (PSR, actually, as I was raised Catholic) and we attended church. My mom told us it was because she promised at her wedding that she would raise her children Catholic. Plus, she’d been raised that way (by relatively devout Catholics who, to my knowledge, still frequently attend church daily — in their mid-80s, no less). Most of our neighbors did the same — attending church, sending their children to Sunday school, celebrating sacraments, and sometimes even being involved in church activities.
But we were all Sunday Christians.
A “Sunday Christian” is one who professes to be a Christian, but whose everyday life is unchanged by this profession. Being involved in church activities or clubs doesn’t matter; these were (are) more like social clubs anyway. They were cliques. And this is what most people see when they look at Christians.
I’m deeply saddened by this, truthfully. Although I believe Jesus to be the only way to the truth, I don’t begrudge others their religious choices. But I also don’t see the point in professing to believe something…and not being obviously and outwardly changed by that belief. If you don’t want to love Jesus with all your heart and strive to live for Him, in the way He would have, why bother to profess to love Him or believe in Him at all?
I struggled against Christianity as a child and teen quite a lot. I think it was because of this sort of upbringing, where church and related activities were merely an “inconvenience,” an addition to our normal, busy lives. There was no family prayer in my home. There was no Bible reading. My brother and I eventually fought not to go to church or be in youth group anymore; we didn’t see the point. And indeed, under these circumstances, what point was there?
Obviously I’ve found my way back now (not that I’m perfect — I struggle a lot — more on that next week). But I’m still surrounded by Sunday Christians.
I wish that more people understood Christianity. I wish more people understood what it means to follow Jesus. A true Christ follower sees the world in a whole new light. They strive to help others, to love others, and to live their lives by Jesus’ teachings, even when it is not convenient or desirable to do so. They stand up for what is right when everything around them is wrong. They take persecution as they strive to deliver Christ’s message to unbelievers.
Most importantly, they live a life that is so strikingly different from those around them that others notice. And they think, “What does this person have that I don’t? And how can I get that?” There is a peace about them (most of the time) because they are living for something greater than themselves, and this is evident in their daily lives!
I don’t think, unfortunately, that most of those who profess to be Christians fit into that category. I wish that they were, but it’s just not the case. Most people today “believe,” but it’s merely a convenience. Jesus is a figurehead, of sorts, not really their Lord and Savior.
I’m hoping that those of us who do feel strongly about Jesus can truly live transformed lives, lives in which it is obvious that “something is different.” I hope we can bring Jesus’ light to the world. Especially in these tough and often dark times, I hope we can.
What do you think? Are most people “Sunday Christians” or are many truly on fire for the Lord?
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