J. Warner Wallace: I am not a Christian because it works for me

UPDATE: Linked by Captain Capitalism, who, although non-religious, thinks that real Christians ought to walk the walk.

Here’s a must-read post from Cold-Case Christianity author J. Warner Wallace.


Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been nearly seventeen years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning”. It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because it “works” for me. I had a life prior to Christianity that seemed to be working just fine, and my life as a Christian hasn’t always been easy.

I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative.

I think this is important. There are people who I know who claim to be Christian, but they are clearly believing that God is a mystical force who arranges everything in their lives in order to make them happy. They are not Christians because it’s true, but because of things like comfort and community. But people ought to become Christians because they think it’s true. Truth doesn’t necessarily make you happy, though. Truth can impose intellectual obligations and moral obligations on you. Seeing God as he really is doesn’t help us to “win” at life, as the culture defines winning.

Winning in Christianity doesn’t mean making lots of money, or being famous, or winning human competitions, or being approved of by lots of people. Winning for a Christian might involve things like building relationships with people and leading them to know that God exists and who Jesus is. That has no cash value, and it’s not going to make you famous. Actually, it will probably cost you money and time, and make you unpopular with a lot of people.

The Bible doesn’t promise that people who become Christians will be happier. Actually, it promises that Christians will suffer for doing the right things. Their autonomy will suffer, as they sacrifice their own interests and happiness in order to make God happy, by serving his interests. Christianity isn’t something you add on to your before-God life in order to achieve your before-God goals. When you become a Christian, you get a new set of goals, based on God’s character and his design for you. And although you might be very successful in the world as part of serving God, there is no guarantee of that. Christianity is not life enhancement.

8 thoughts on “J. Warner Wallace: I am not a Christian because it works for me”

  1. Wow – your 3rd to last sentence about “before-God goals” is incredibly powerful! It is so easy to fall into that mode of thinking – asking God to bless OUR desires instead of asking Him what His desires are so that we might do His will for His glory. That’s one worth memorizing – thanks!


  2. Had a friend just “come out” about being gay and another about being “transgendered”. In all of it, I’ve watched fellow Christians completely embrace the behavior and attitudes. It has been extremely difficult to deal with (probably one of the hardest in my life), but remembering the fact of who we are as Christians makes it much easier to deal with despite the fact I still don’t know how to proceed.


  3. Brother, this is right on. RIGHT ON!!! “When you become a Christian, you get a new set of goals, based on God’s character and his design for you… Christianity is not a life enhancement.”

    Preach it!


  4. Sorry, deleted the link, not out of any spite or anything, but I usually delete links after a day or so to keep just the larger hitting posts up. Just a heads up in case any of your reeaders go there.


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