Published June 9, 2009

Paul's Epistle...

Recently I've been trying to drink more pure water instead of various sweetened drinks. And I think I feel better as a result. That's why the following article caught my eye. It's by Holly Meade, a journalism professor and contributor to several radio programs, including the Lighthouse Report for Campus Crusade for Christ. I think you'll enjoy it.

- Paul

"Thirsty?" (Guest column)
by Holly Meade

Water. It's crucial to sustaining life.

Scientists differ in opinions regarding the number of days we can survive without water. However, it is a fact we will die without it. Of course, on a hot day, or after exercising, or eating salty foods, it's easy to crave a refreshing glass of water. In fact, our thirst for water can become a preoccupation until it's satisfied.

Consider an analogy between our thirst for water and our thirst for God. Do we thirst for a relationship with God as we thirst for water? According to a recent survey by veteran researcher George Barna of the Barna Research Group, the answer seems to "no."

When Barna surveyed more than 30,000 randomly selected adults about their faith, he reports that two out of three U.S. adults consider themselves "Casual Christians." In other words, sixty-six percent of the adult population describe themselves as spiritually middle-of-the-road and even ambivalent about their faith.

"Casual Christianity," states Barna, is faith in moderation. "It allows them to feel religious without having to prioritize their faith. A Casual Christian can be all things that they esteem: a nice human being, a family person, religious, an exemplary citizen, a reliable employee and never have to publicly defend or represent difficult moral or social position or even lose much sleep over their private choices as long as they mean well and generally do their best."

In the book of Revelation, God addressed the church in Laodicea, one of the wealthiest of the seven cities. However, the city had a problem with its water supply. An aqueduct was built to bring water from hot springs; yet, when the water reached the city, it was lukewarm.

When God confronted the people's spiritual apathy in Revelation 3:15, He said, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."

Perhaps that same message to Laodicea applies to us today.

As Americans, we live in a nation of wealth. Even though there is a questionable economy, we still often overeat, overspend and overindulge in luxuries other people in Third World countries could not imagine. Even the commodity of fresh hot and cold water, to which many in other countries is precious, often flows freely in American homes. However, when it comes to our Christian faith, the majority of Americans seem to have become lukewarm.

In Barna's survey, he also reports that only sixteen percent of U.S. adults are "Captive Christians." "Captive Christians" seek to uphold the absolute moral and spiritual truths. Barna says, "For Captives, success is obedience to God, as demonstrated by consistently serving Christ and carrying out His commands and principles. For Casuals, success is balancing everything just right so that they are able to maximize their opportunities and joys in life without undermining their perceived relationship with God and with others. Casuals are about moderation in all things while Captives are about extreme devotion to their God regardless of the worldly consequences."

In essence, "Captive Christians" seem to be those people who thirst after God.

In the Bible, God is referred to as the "fountain of life" and the "living water." In the book of John, Jesus tells the woman at the well that if she drinks of the water He provides, she will never thirst again.

As we anguish and complain over the spiritual condition of this nation, perhaps we should look at our reflections in the fountain of God's truth. Are we thirsting after a relationship with God with all our hearts, minds and souls? Or are we willing to compromise and live spiritually lukewarm?

Are we choosing to live as "Casual Christians" or as "Captive Christians"?
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Provided through ASSIST News Service. Used by permission.

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