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Going Beyond the Words

Mediocrity: of only moderate quality; not very good.


Recently, I was confronted with the contrast of intellect vs. relational Christianity and realized how different they are. When I was in seminary, I felt the power of the intellect, to know things about scripture, and ministry which made me feel impressed with that knowledge. I felt that I was growing in the knowledge of God, and felt that everything I did in the seminary experience was spiritual and good. I do believe in education, but education isn’t what God wants as much as He wants our hearts, and having a relationship with Him that changes our lives from the core. Education does change us because knowledge does have power and influence, but it is not the best power and influence. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the more power and influence we have because of knowledge garners us more of God's approval. It does say that a heart that belongs to God and is obedient to Him, has His watchful eye.


2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.


Spiritual mediocrity is rampant in the modern church. Churches are mediocre in so many ways, and I have said that we need a new reformation, one that gets rid of all the mediocrity in how we live out the Gospel. Recently, in an interview with a millennial on how the various generations see the Gospel, he said that we have allowed so many meaningless practices and thoughts into the church today. He clarified that by asking what is it that Jesus wants from us.  Does He want us to be silent in the face of evil, or preach a trendy compromising message to attract a crowd, or does He want us to preach an uncompromising message of truth? Does Jesus want us to be so theological that we fail to even practice the simplest of disciplines like prayer, witnessing, servanthood, and sacrifice? Does obedience just sound good when it is preached, but during the week it's a far-forgotten concept? I know it's not nice to paint with a broad brush, but I will do it because that broad brush is really in the modern church.


Let me be clear. I think most people in most churches who say they follow Jesus are backslidden, and they don’t know it. Here is how I know this is a correct statement. It’s not a secret that only 9% of Evangelical Christians have a Biblical worldview. What is a Biblical worldview? George Barna did a survey asking questions about these statements and found only 9% believed in them:


  • Do absolute moral truths exist?

  • Is absolute truth defined by the Bible?

  • Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?

  • Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and does He still rule it today?

  • Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?

  • Is Satan real?

  • Does a Christian have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people?

  • Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?


Did you answer yes to these? Only 9 percent of ‘born-again’ believers did. But what’s more important than your ‘yes’ to these questions is whether your life shows it.


What is even more disturbing is a recent survey about reading the Bible daily was telling:


Only 11 percent of Americans read the Bible daily. Trends in reading the Bible have been slowly declining for the past 4 years. Among adults under 30, just 1% have a Biblical worldview. It rises to 3% among people in their 30's and 40's and 5% among people aged 50 to 65.  It peaks at 8% with people over 65.


Now, let’s go back to the mediocrity that prompted me to say that most Christians in most churches are backslidden. How can you not be backslidden if only 11% read the Scriptures daily? The lack of reading the Bible will result in the loss of a Biblical worldview.


Recently, I broke my femur falling down some stairs, and had surgery with a plate in my leg to repair the damage. Before falling and breaking that bone, I was attending a local gym 3-4 times a week working out. I was absent from that gym for over 4 months during the time I was convalescing from the break. When I returned just a few short weeks ago, I could not even do half the routine I once did. What happened? I neglected the workout and therefore lost the strength and endurance to do it.


It is no different when you neglect the Bible to feed your soul and feed your mind with God’s ideas and truths. The culture like the Devil is never passive, it just doesn’t retreat from you and stay away … it is always aggressive, and it will always take advantage of an unguarded spiritual life. Your enemies are always advancing, slowly eroding anything that God has set up in your life as healthy and wise.

Don’t kid yourself. Satan loves addiction … we see that in the use of drugs and alcohol. But his addiction doesn’t stop there … he moves on to self-addiction, the love of self, and self-pleasure. We have more people who love to be seen and heard, just look at Facebook or other social media platforms … we love ourselves and our lives.  Hurrah for me. But the real truth is found in what Jesus said about self-indulgence:


Luke 9:24 Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.


Jesus was not messing around about self-love and the ramifications of ignoring God at the price of winning a successful earthly life:


Mark 8 34For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; 35but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul.


Listen, is it easy to get off track and a whole lot harder to get back on track. God's mercy and forgiveness are always available, but it's us who are not available. We are too busy to pray, listen, and learn God's ways. We are intellectual Christians at best but fail at having a strong relationship with God. Intellectual assent to God is being backslidden in God’s eyes, and if you think your knowledge of God has you covered … well think again.


Here is how you test your relationship with God. Tell me 10 things that your relationship with God has changed your life. Describe Him in how He lives through your life. You may intellectually know some answers, but how much does it affect you as a person to change you in living out your life every day? 


That’s enough for now, we’ll talk more about this theme in upcoming blogs. Has this been a challenge for you?  Then pass this blog site along to your friends and church people. Subscribe and talk to others about subscribing because 2024 will not be blogs as usual. Don’t be afraid to be bold and courageous for the Lord. Speak, act, and become more like Jesus in 2024.


Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler



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