My friend walked away from the faith several years ago. Not all at once. It was more like a slow walk. A leisurely stroll. But one that brought him to a bad place. From his first exposure to Christianity and his profession of faith, he was full of zeal. As a young believer myself, I remember one of the first questions that always came from my friend’s mouth when we would see each other was, “What are you doing for Jesus? God’s done so much for you, what are you doing for him? What are you doing to pay him back?” I remember how uncomfortable that made me feel, even as a new Christian and being so young in the faith and naive. It made me squirm. It made me feel guilty and condemned because God had done so much for me and I seemed unable and grossly inconsistent and incompetent in doing much for Him. I eventually started avoiding my friend, at least for the first few minutes after he would arrive. Once the preliminary “what are you doing for Jesus?” Q&A with everyone else in the room would subside, I would emerge from the back room, breathing a sigh of relief and congratulating myself that I had successfully avoided another interrogation. Sad, but true.
That’s what “do more” Christianity does. It doesn’t make you do more, it makes you give up altogether! It’s not good news. It’s bad news. It ties heavy burdens on our own backs and on the backs of others that we can’t possibly bear and leaves us feeling condemned because it’s never ending and we can never do enough and we’ll never measure up. That’s what eventually happened to my friend. After years of hearing and asking “What are you doing for Jesus?” and convincing himself that he needed to be “on fire for Jesus” 24/7 for God to be pleased with him, he finally despaired of the whole thing, lost his family, and threw in the towel and walked away.Continue reading