Our study through the book Crazy Love has been great. It has generated good discussion and it has made us think. This week was no different. I’ll just jump right in and say it, Chapter 5 of Crazy Love is controversial. The title of the chapter is serving leftovers to a holy God. In Chapter 4, Chan gives us a description of a lukewarm Christian. That lays the groundwork for the theme of this chapter. Let’s look at some of the statements from this chapter
- To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians.
- Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a “Christian” without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.
- We’re willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation.
- I do not want true believers to doubt their salvation as they read this book. In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us.
- We should have a posture of obedience and surrender, where a person perpetually moves toward Christ.
- God wants our best, deserves our best, and demands our best.
- Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.
- God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.
- I fully believe that we are saved by grace, through faith, by the gift of God, and that true faith manifests itself through our actions.
- How many of us would really leave our families, our jobs, our education, our friends, our connections, our familiar surroundings, and our homes if Jesus asked us to?
After starting the discussion, everyone jumped right in with their thoughts. The basic feeling of the group was one of dejection. It does make you realize how far we are from Biblical Christianity. But honestly, this chapter left most people in our group more confused than challenged. In our discussion, I think we zeroed in what was troubling us. In chapter 4, we learned the characteristics of a lukewarm Christian. Many of these characteristics are outward actions. But the true test of whether you are lukewarm is not your outward actions, but the condition of your heart. I think this is where the book could have been clearer. It is very easy to read this chapter and come away with a “works-based” mentality to your salvation. That it’s all about what you do for God, and that if you don’t do enough then you’re in danger of God spitting you out like the passage in Revelation 3 that this chapter is based on. Chan does talk about grace, but only after he makes some pretty strong statements.
When you surrender your life to Christ, you have to completely trust Jesus. That’s faith, being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you can’t see. But you will still have times in your life when you struggle and you don’t stay as close to God as you know you should. It doesn’t mean that you lose your salvation, but it does mean you miss out on God’s blessing in your life. I fully agree with Chan that God wants your full commitment. I don’t believe you can truly come to Christ ‘half-heartedly.’ Don’t get me wrong here, I really love this book. But we have to focus on the condition of our hearts if we truly want to change our behavior. This chapter makes you take 2 Corinthians 13:5 and put it into practice, and that is a very good thing. We should be challenged to examine our faith, and we should be challenged to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.