I am writing this because I love you.
Though this will put me out of my comfort zone, I am far more concerned of being judged by and accountable to God than just telling you what you want to hear. I am more concerned of how God views our hearts and lives than just showing you what you want to see.
Maybe you have been attending church for a time, going with the heartfelt flow of worship and listening to/taking down notes of sermons consistently. But behind closed doors, there is no personal relationship with God, no Lordship of Jesus in your daily decisions, no inward and outward fruitfulness (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 7:15-20), and no transformed life.
Or maybe you have been just joining fellowship when you feel like it (maybe once a month or once a year?), when you are not busy, when your family or social affairs are settled, when you feel like you are being “forced” to, or when you are already feeling guilty because you are no longer attending.
Or maybe you have identified yourself as a believer of Jesus yet it seems that hypocrisy and stagnation are more evident in your life than a professing faith (Titus 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:5). No doubt that you know Jesus, how He lived His life and what He did for you, but deep inside you feel more happy and fulfilled when you just do your own thing or follow the ways and trends of this world.
Or maybe you accepted Jesus in your life back then because you want to avoid Hell, be a better person, have a more upright reputation or experience a moralistic-therapeutic deism. Or maybe because you did not want to offend the one who shared the gospel to you so you accepted Jesus for his or her sake.
Or maybe you think you are a Christian because you are able to talk about yourself as a Christian, sing along worship songs, quote and post Bible verses like what other Christians do, feel morally superior than others, raise your arms during worship or attend church, but never had the desire to truly serve and imitate Jesus nor have the intention/hunger to be under the Word and authority of God.
Or maybe you think you are a Christian because you celebrate Christmas or you grew up in a Christian family, but never truly experienced a personal conviction to follow Him at all costs (Matthew 16:24).
With love, gentleness and respect, I hope for this: that you take Jesus seriously because He took you seriously.
See, we all have sinned and rebelled against God. And so we deserve His judgment. We have always tried to find life and save ourselves by trying to be morally upright as much as possible and doing good in order to abide with the Golden Rule. We are sinners (liars, perverts, idolators) and so we cannot save ourselves. Our unbelief and rebellion against our Creator chained us straight to the pit of eternal fire.
But God. He so loved us that He gave His one and only Son — promising us that whoever believes and receives Him, not just as Savior but as Lord of his or her life, has indeed eternal life.
Jesus lived a sinless and blameless life in absolute humility and love for us. He took the punishment that we deserve. He died for our sins, nailing it on the cross not only with a crown of thorns and a scorched body — humiliated and mocked, but with His precious blood shed for our redemption. He was buried and rose from the dead.
Jesus is not a lukewarm, half-hearted Savior nor a pretentious Lord. He took us seriously.
My friend, let us not deceive ourselves. God is God.
Sure, we will have an imperfect pursuit of Christlikeness. But I hope that we will take Him seriously — living a life poured out for Him and imitating Him with our utmost devotion.