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Are You Serious About Being a Christian? Are You Serious About Being a Christian?

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Are You Serious About Being a Christian?

Posted by: admin on Sat, Sep 8, 2012

By The Christian PostPublished: October 02, 2011

Are You Serious About Being a Christian?

By The Christian PostPublished: October 02, 2011

 

As President Obama and other political leaders reference scripture more often in important speeches, including the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it prompts questions about Christianity and the level of spiritual growth in America today.

Pollster George Barna, whose years of research on religion gets to the core of Christianity, recently conducted a survey asking Christians, “What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?” and “What are the duties and obligations of someone who calls himself/herself a Christian?”

These are pertinent questions to wrestle with in light of the highly debated “signs of the times” and second coming of Jesus Christ among evangelical leaders today.

Barna’s recent book, Maximum Faith, concludes that without complete determination to live like Christ and for Him, the path to complete transformation and spiritual growth is blocked.

“There are several barriers to overcome before many people are likely to persevere and maximize their connection with God,” Barna says in his book.

He found out that only a small percentage of born-again Christians stick with the spiritual growth process long enough to become the mature followers of Christ and world changers that they are meant to be.

Nearly 65 percent of all Christians in the United States say they have confessed their sins to God and asked for His forgiveness, research concludes.

However, Barna’s evidence is quite clear that relatively few Christians are serious about abandoning the lure of sin and handing total control of their lives over to God.

He also discovered that Christians today do not take their faith community or church seriously, whatever type it may be, as a place where they should be open and held to biblical principles.

Barna says there are barriers to spiritual growth. They are broken down into four categories; commitment, repentance, activity and spiritual community.

He notes that most churches in America encourage congregations to engage in religious activities, which is good, but they are not the only answer to spiritual growth. “While growth in worship, discipleship, stewardship, service, study and other activities is important, people often fail to realize the end game of spiritual development is godly character, not worldly accomplishments,” Barna said.

“God does not need His followers to achieve things on His behalf for them to become more acceptable or valuable to Him.”

He concludes that more than three out of four Christians (78 percent) strongly agreed that spirituality is very important to them.

“Yet, less than one in five Christians claims to be totally committed to investing in their own spiritual development,” he said.

“These figures help explain why a majority of Christian adults (52 percent) believe that there is much more to the Christian life than what they have experienced.”

Research also indicates that sometimes people get so wrapped up in church programs or producing specific religious results they lose sight of the purpose of their faith, which is to have a life-changing relationship with Jesus.

Barna noted that it becomes easy to substitute laudable religious activity for intentional and simple engagement with God. American Christians, in particular, have become known for doing good works and religious exercises rather than simply being friends and imitators of Christ.

Another challenge Barna found in the issue of spiritual maturity is the ability to embrace sacrifice and suffering in order to surrender and submit fully to God.

He said Christians must grow through brokenness during sacrifice. "But churches," he said, "find this unappealing."

He added, “Until such brokenness occurs, people’s transformation and growth is hindered. The church should raise those who suffer for their faith and give God full control of their lives, as champions, positioning such selflessness as victory rather than loss.”

Barna said if individuals are not sacrificing for God in their church, it may be time for them to rethink their disciple-making process.

A third challenge to spiritual maturity listed by Barna is the importance of perceiving a faith community or church as a vital support system in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with God.

Bible study, prayer, and life sharing activities, in or outside the worship building, are relied upon by conventional churches as a means of creating community and a sense of connection to the church.

The goal of these groups is usually about knowledge and comfort instead of commitment and application.

Only three percent of all Christians in America have come to a place in their spiritual lives where they have surrendered control of their life to God, submitted to His will for their life, and devoted themselves to loving and serving God and other people, according to recent studies.

Barna says he is currently working on helping faith communities rethink how they measure “success” in their ministries that are supposed to help Christians grow closer to God.

Most agree with Barna that spiritual fruit is grown through character change, lifestyle shifts, attitudinal transitions, and spiritual process and commitments.

Barna's survey involved a national random sample of adults (18 or older) selected from across the 48 continental states.


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2 Corinthians 6:14-18

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers[do not make mis-mated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them,inconsistent with your faith].

For what partnership have right living {and} right standingwith God with iniquity {and} lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?

15 What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

16 What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, “I will dwell in {and} with {and} among them and will walk in {and} with {and} among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

17 “So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, “and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly {and} treat you with favor,

18 and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters”, says the Lord Almighty.

 

Jude 20-25

20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in The Holy Spirit;

21 Guard {and} keep yourselves in the love of God; expect {and} patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)--[which will bring you] unto life eternal.

22 And {refute [so as to] convict some who dispute with you, and} on some have mercy who waver {and} doubt.

23 [Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh {and} polluted by their sensuality.

24 Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling {or} slipping {or} falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy {and} exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]--

25 To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might {and} dominion, and power {and} authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).

 

Later I will write my thoughts in response to the above and how they relate to the conversations I had during the past two days.

 

Living for God,

Bible lover Bill

Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:4-8, Proverbs 3:5-6, & Jude 20-25

for.good.living.and.loving@gmail.com

My Bible study tools-- http://www.box.com/s/b5e77263893skype659cd0b28

http://right-focus.yolasite.com/
http://for-healthy-thinking.yolasite.com
http://thoughts-beliefs.yolasite.com
http://possibilities-in-future.yolasite.com

http://www.ourchurch.com/member/f/fortruth/index.php

https://www.box.com/s/0c7b45c783128ef8efee

https://www.facebook.com/BibleloverBill.stevenson

http://www.facebook.com/BibleloverBill

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