Many reasons have been given as to why Christians seem to be failing at reaching the world for Jesus. We say we need more programs, we need to be more relevant, we need more funds, or worst of all, some say, we need a new message. Let’s be clear, the message of Jesus’ redeeming love is central to the faith, never to be replaced by watered down messages about social justice or moral principles for right living. Those are important but Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection can’t be replaced. Why are we failing? Simply put–we are distracted.
Everyday, we go to work, work as hard as we can, and we come home. We sit in the chair and turn on the TV. We get excited about our favorite show, or worse, we browse the channels looking for something. At the end of the day, we feel like we are missing something and after we think about it, we realize the very small part the Word and prayer played in our day. We feel bad and vow to change but we don’t. Another day dawns and we do the same thing. We go to church on Sunday to justify that we are living a godly life. Meanwhile, the world sinks farther down in sin and we barely noticed.
So what do we do to change things? I think remembering five key points is crucial:
1. Remember how high the stakes are. Heaven and hell hang in the balance. Some may object by saying “Others will step in when I can’t.” Yes and no. While it is true that God is not totally reliant on one person to do His work, He still does need us. God placed in all of us special gifts and to not utilize them to reach our neighbors and those around the world is wrong. We will be held accountable someday for all the time we waste.
2. No TV show is worth not fulfilling your destiny. It was once stated that the richest place in the world is in the graveyard for there lies the largest pool of untapped potential ever. There lies unwritten songs, uninvented life-saving devices, and countless leaders who never realized God’s plans for them. Why was this potential not acted on? Most likely, these people were too busy doing “important” things like watching The Price is Right or Friends.
3. We must help each other stay active in Kingdom work. We must join together to defeat distraction. I need my Christian brothers and sisters to come alongside me and tell me to get going on the things God has told me to do. Remind me that time is short and that I can’t spend all my time on my own entertainment. In turn, I invest my life in helping them succeed. Why is this not being done more in the body of Christ? Simply put, we don’t want to come off as judgmental or unloving. In truth, it is more unloving to let someone waste their life because you don’t want to risk losing the shallow friendship you have with them.
4. Spend more of our free time in the Word and prayer. Oftentimes, we play games or watch TV to help us forget our hard lives. Work can be draining but we must learn to turn to God in those tough times instead of reality shows or that latte at Starbucks. Entertainment is not the point of life; worshipping God through loving and serving others is. Without adequate time in the Word and prayer, we have nothing to give. We begin to feel alone and work gets even harder. Then we reach for more entertainment and relax our moral standards. We make excuses as to why it’s OK to view programs that promote sinful lifestyles. And farther and farther we drift. Drawing closer to God gives us strength and true joy. Work will still be challenging but with renewed strength, there will be less of a need for distracting entertainment and more time for ministry that matters.
5. We are not our own. I know some people may be getting angry at this point. “It’s my life; I will do what I want” people will. Not true. Colossians 6:19 clearly tells us “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” We traded our independent yet separated from God life for a life that was meant to be life dedicated to service to God. that resulted in more and more people coming to know God. To sit on the couch and make our life’s purpose simple to be happy and enjoy life is sin.
So let’s get out there today and make the difference God is calling us to make. No entertainment is worth missing what He has for us.