Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Useful Christianity


Christianity is often introduced to others as a way to get forgiveness for sins so that one can escape the eternal conscious torment of hell and get into heaven. This approach may find traction with those who see themselves as sinful and accept the ideas of hell and heaven. However, for many this presentation falls short of convincing. An alternative presentation of light versus darkness (selflessness versus selfishness) can be more relatable for many than “sin” (which many assume to be equivalent to felony crimes and often feel that it doesn’t apply to them).

Christianity spread for the first three centuries even under persecution because many could see in the changed lives of those they grew up with what was useful and desirable. For many people what happens after death can seem too distant or abstract to have much meaning. However, being able to see in the testimony of a changed life some of the following can be persuasive;

1. Wisdom. Wisdom might be viewed as consequences clearly seen. Avoiding the diseases associated with fornication, the ruination to be found in alcohol and drugs, and the crippling effects of debt. However, going beyond avoiding the pain poor choices can bring, one can also find the joys that good choices can bring. For example, selecting a marriage partner that is kind, compassionate and has a good sense of humor can build a family in which one finds a refuge from the world rather than a family one wishes to flee.

2. Truth. In a world of advertising, politics, and bombast at every turn, being able to see truth is distinctly advantageous. There was a movie where a character wore glasses that turned black whenever there was danger. The supposed advantage was that one could continue feeling good regardless of reality. While many seek to avoid truth and continue in a comfortable cocoon of delusion, deception, and fantasy, there are still many who would find truth to be useful.

3. Selflessness. God designed the world so that the natural selfishness of childhood was to be replaced with the selflessness required by parenthood. A child thinks in terms of what can be consumed and what sensations can be had. These sensations are temporary and ultimately unsatisfying. Selflessness opens the door to true happiness and becomes the foundation for lasting relationships, peace, and love.

4. Character. Being a Christian opens the door to the opportunity to be a better person. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, the result is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. While there are many who see no advantage in having these qualities, there are still many others who would give anything for them.

5. Certainty. Fears evaporate when faith comes. Poverty, illness, imprisonment, or even death are not seen as calamitous fates. With a view of the eternal, one can transcend what Paul calls momentary afflictions.

6. Family. While often Christians only extend a sense of “brotherhood” to others of their own denomination or church, there are many that can recognize in each other the light of Christ and give each other such a warm, deep, and loving connection that all else pales in comparison.

There are three reasons why this may not be as powerful a testimony today as it was in ancient times. People do not know each other as well as they used to. Many claim to be Christian but have only inherited a Christian tradition. And lastly, many who are Christian have never matured in their faith to show the advantages of Christianity. Perhaps it would be a good idea for those of us who claim Christ to examine ourselves and seek after the maturity that was also lacking among the Corinthians (1 Cor 3:1-3). If we were to show more clearly the immediate advantages of Christianity, it might not be so difficult to convince others.



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