January 8th, 2010

What Does it Mean to be Christian in a World Full of Christians?


What Does it Mean to be Christian in a World Full of Christians?

For Christmas I asked my wife, Dani, to get me the book In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day. A few men at my church have read it, and it’s been an integral part of where they are today. I also picked up a copy of No Compromise, The Life Story of Keith Green from my dad. It was on the dining room table at the fam’s house and I started reading. I wasn’t able to put either book down.

Both of these books talk about people who are radical about what they believe and how they live their lives. It’s inspiring, motivational, convicting, and scary. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day talks about how some of the most inspiring people in history are the most daring, the ones who take risks. This book embodies the idea that without risk there is no gain. I think the book takes it one step further and says that if you don’t take risks there are negative repercussions. No Compromise talks about Keith Green’s journey to find truth and meaning. It’s a passionate life story of a passionate man. The book talks about ideas that are radical even to today’s standards of what being a Christian means. If you read this book looking for answers, you won’t come away the same. You might even leave with more questions than answers.

So Why am I Talking About These Books?

So what does being In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day have to do with being a Christian? And why should you listen to me talk about No Compromise? One reason. Am I, as a Christian, really living a lifestyle that embodies who Christ is and what Christ taught? I look at my past and where I am at, and I have to say No. When was the last time I did something for the glory of God that didn’t involve serving my own well-being, or pleasing myself, or making myself look Christ-like in the eyes of others? I feel like my faith is based off of concepts and ideas that are Christian, but they don’t go far enough. It’s been making me not want to call myself “Christian” because I want to think of myself in a new light as being one who lives like Jesus lived. Not one who just does the normal Christian stuff: Sundays, Wednesdays, small group.

Have you ever read First John or James? Those guys talk about radical, non-conservative ways of living, not just believing in something. I wonder if maybe this is a better idea of faith and risk, “Without risk, faith is an impossibility,” Søren Kierkegaard. I don’t know. But I do know that my view of Jesus is minimized and compartmentalized because of my Western view of the Bible. I guess I’m just frustrated with myself, the church, religion. I feel like there should be more to my view of the world. I should be a person willing to take chances. Someone willing to be controversial, and not ashamed of what I believe. To me it’s coming down to this: Do I really believe what the Bible says?

Do I really believe what the Bible says?

If the answer is yes, than my current lifestyle must change. Everything from how I view things to how I interact with people will need to be altered. I cannot be a nominal Christian or an average Christian. There’s no such thing. Jesus calls us to be fishers of men. When was the last time I shared my faith with a non-believer? I don’t think I could tell you. Jesus also calls us to a lifestyle of total abandon. “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” – Matthew 10:38. This God-man—Jesus—is not playing around. He demands life-altering, complete sacrifice to live differently than the rest of the people around you. I can’t think of my life as my own anymore, no compromise.

So In Summary

I guess I’m wanting to push people and myself towards a lifestyle and faith that really has action and behavior that is not like other people. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…” – First John 2:15-17. I’m ready for my faith to be real and not superficial. I’m ready to give it all up. Life. The Future. Family. Happiness.

A Prayer

God be my peace. Be grace in my life. I know not what the future holds, or if what I am thinking is right, but I know you are leading me. I want to follow. So please let me see you like I see my hands in front of me. Let me see as you see. Let my desires be yours, and let my heart follow after truth. Your name is holy. May my limited knowledge of your word and who you are lead me to you and nothing else. May I not lead others astray. You are perfect love. Help me bring that love to those around me. Unashamed, I proclaim you Lord and pray you hold me tight and safe in your will for my life.

8 Responses to “What Does it Mean to be Christian in a World Full of Christians?”


  • Brett says:

    Awesome stuff, Israel! Glad you picked up IAPWALOASD (wow that’s a crazy-long acronym). I also love No Compromise.

    • Israel says:

      Heh, that is a crazy acronym. I’m praying for you guys in your journey as well. I pray Jesus reveals himself daily.

  • Hannah says:

    Hey bub,
    I nee to get that Lion book…never heard of it. As for No Compromise, I read it during my time
    before comig to Australia (you may be readig my copy haha). I still talk about it to people. Challenging. What book about my life would be written? What would the title be? That’s always a good one to ask yourself. I love you and miss you, as does Ash, he really loves youguys and still talks about how much he likes you hehe. I’ll be seeing you so soon!

    • Israel says:

      I miss Ash too. I love that guy. I really enjoyed hanging out with him when you guys were here last. I can’t wait to see you and your future hubby.

  • Amy says:

    Hey Iz,
    I really enjoyed this post. I’m excited for you and Dani as you more fully embrace the teachings of Christ. He was a pretty radical guy, and I wish there were more people like him in the world today.
    Love you both,

    • Israel says:

      Amy, I wish we had more time in this life to figure things out. We are praying for you guys. Your life is changing quickly – jobs, apartment, Jude. We will help as much as we can. Please, feel free to ask for anything.

  • Dane says:

    Israel, great post, great thoughts. i find the word “christian” very “make me puke” feeling. i’m with you pal that this word has been mishaped and contorted to define something that is not “little christ”. check out dietrich bonhoeffer’s “cost of discipleship”. it’s a tough read, but will change the way you think about your life in christ. amen for this post brother! thank you


  • Galen says:

    You and Dani are so wonderful! I love to read the words that God speaks through you! You are so right when you said, “my current lifestyle must change.” These past few months for me personally and for the world have been about “change” and moving away from my[our] routine. In these moments of rest and transition my eyes seem to be getting wider and my view of who I “was” is being revealed. Just from truly seeking God I can honestly say that I have actually started to not only have a firmer foundation on what I believe, but living with that foundation daily has truly been an altering time. I am asking God to keep up the alterations, because what I was clothed in didn’t fit.