You Aren’t Growing as a Christian Because You Don’t Need Him

Tuesday is for Discipleship

You aren’t growing as a Christian because you don’t need him.

“But,” you say, “I do need him. Without Christ I have no forgiveness of sins, no relationship with the Father, no way to heaven, no hope of eternity in fellowship with Christ and all those who have loved his appearing” (cf. John 14:6; 2 Tim. 4:8).

All that is true but I insist, your spiritual growth is hindered because you do not need him. He is not necessary to your life.

“But,” you say, “He is necessary to my life. How can you say that?”

Okay, let me ask you a question, actually a series of questions. What would be a harder to endure:

  • a week without your Bible or a week without your computer?
  • a week without your Bible or a week without your cell phone?
  • a week without your Bible or a week without Facebook?
  • a week without your Bible or a week without your closet? your shoes? your friends? your pets? your car? your refrigerator? your microwave?

Chances are high, that for most Evangelicals, most people who claim to have a personal relationship with God through God’s earth-sent-Son, Jesus, the words of Christ, the words of God are relatively unimportant.  Oh, they are revered, like a crucifix is revered in a Catholic church, or Abraham Lincoln is revered in American history, or the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery is revered by the American soldiers and their families, but as a practical matter, for too many, the words of God are honestly not that important.

“How can you say that?”

That’s the easiest question I could ever be asked.  I know from personal experience in churches coast to coast, north and south, across dozens of denominations and thirty eight years of time, that American Christians don’t live like they believe what they say they believe.

  • They say they believe John 14:6, but they never feel the urgency to tell their neighbors the way.
  • They say they believe John 15:5, but tolerate fruitlessness in their lives, as if they don’t need Jesus.
  • They say much and act little.

They are far from desiring the word of God more than gold (Psalm 19:10). They just don’t live like Jesus is very important in the day to day realities of their lives. To put it bluntly, their lives are bloodless. There is no passion or burning zeal to live for and like Jesus. Their willingness to deal with “sin” in their own lives is largely an attempt to make their lives function better or more comfortably. It is rarely a passionate wrestling with sin so that they might present their bodies a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). And the end result is that Jesus is more a concept and an ideal then he is a living reality in their lives.

Christians in America today are a shadow of what they have been in the past, what they have been in history, what they have been in other parts of the world and still are in some areas around the globe.”
(Marty Schoenleber)

Austin Phelps (I never heard of him) is quoted in Gordon Keddie’s (never heard of him either) Preacher on the Run: The Message of Jonah.[1]  I may have never heard of these men, but they are right on target with this quote:

“We never feel Christ to be a reality until we feel him to be a necessity.”

Church Planter, Missional Leader, Elder, Pastor, Lover of Christ: Help all those that you disciple to know the NECESSITY of the risen Christ in their lives. And to do that, make sure that he is an absolute NECESSITY in your own life first.

[1] (Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press, 1986), 85.

5 thoughts on “You Aren’t Growing as a Christian Because You Don’t Need Him

  1. It made me think of Psalm 10:4:
    In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

    And Psalm 119:17-20:
    Do good to your servant, and I will live;
    I will obey your word.
    Open my eyes that I may see
    wonderful things in your law.
    I am a stranger on earth;
    do not hide your commands from me.
    My soul is consumed with longing
    for your laws at all times.

    I get distracted!! Thank you for reminding us!

    May my hunger and thirst be increased daily. May my dependence be complete.


  2. Well said, Marty.

    I am reminded of a saying I’ve heard in a different context that seems to apply here: “To know and not to do is not to know, because if you truly know, you will be compelled to do.” (my paraphrase)


    1. if my people, who are called by my name, will HUMBLE themselves and PRAY and SEEK my face and TURN from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

      Father, may we be humble, pray, seek and turn. may we know and do!!


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