Four Possible Threats to Christ-Followers

warningNot long ago, our younger daughter graduated from college and moved into an apartment.  She lives in a large apartment complex in her city.  Somehow the thought of her living off campus and in a sprawling apartment complex put a few worries into my head.  Charlotte and I helped her move into this apartment.  Of course, being the protective father I am, I checked the locks on her door, talked to her about safety between her apartment and her car, and left a baseball bat in her apartment.  She protested on that one but I managed to leave it anyway.  (Okay, maybe I went a little overboard.)

Now I didn’t want to scare her to death, but I did want to remind her that this is a dangerous world and that we all have to deal with threats.  It is important to be smart and aware.

Christ-followers face some threats as well, and we ought to pay attention to these possibilities.  A few of these threats include:

1.  A life that is absorbed in self-pity.  Nothing is sadder than a minister/pastor/church leader who wallows in self-pity.  Such self-pity causes one’s heart to be self-focused and self-absorbed.  The Bible is full of references to people who suffered for a variety of reasons.  Yet, suffering never becomes a justification for self-pity.

2.  A loss of any sort of quest for holiness.  This loss may be a reaction to legalism.  There are people who once drank deeply from the wells of legalism and who now recoil at words like "holy," "obedience," and "discipleship."  Nevertheless, the grace of God doesn’t just forgive sins but serves to shape a new kind of people.

3.  A faith without passion.  No, I am not suggesting that faith has to be loud and demonstrative or have a certain personality.  Our personalities very much influence how we express the passion inside of us.  That being said, there is something wrong when our love and adoration of God creates no passion for him.  There is something wrong when we tell our children that we are God’s people and yet it appears to them that we couldn’t care less about the things of God.  Typically, we are passionate about what we value.  Talk to any rabid football fan or doting grandmother.  They will express passion for what they love. 

4.  A love for the world.  I am not referring to the people in the world but the world as a system.  We are often tempted to be entranced by pleasure, material wealth, and the pursuit of a status that will call attention to ourselves.  We are bombarded with messages every day that are seductive.  Such seduction causes us to get used to the dark.  Soon, the darkness of the world seems "normal."  As a result, we become more and more in love with this world. 

What are some other threats that face Christ-followers?  What have you seen or experienced? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “Four Possible Threats to Christ-Followers

  1. I started listing a few and then found that they could be filed under one or the other of those listed.  i.e. Complacency – #3. It a great list! It was good to be prepared and protected.! At work we have Occupational Health and Safety committees. We work hard at identifying the hazards inherent in the job.  Some can’t be eliminated, but we wear personal protective equipment or have rules and regulations we must follow. Some can be addressed and removed.  We do these hazard ID annually.  It’s also good to take stock in our spiritual lives – actually much more important because they have eternal consequences!

  2. Jim, this post was a great reminder for me in my life right now. Thanks for your thoughtfulness. Though I consider myself a person passionate for God and persuing holiness, how easy it is for me to become dull and jaded. May God keep us fresh and inspire us by His greatness. God be with you, my friend.

  3. Thanks Jim,On target as always…mostly…oh alright…most of the time.  What-are-you-peeking-over-my-shoulder?  I’ve found myself wallowing in all of the things you mentioned at one time or another.  Sometimes for days at a time.  But God keeps drawing me back.  The wooing of the Spirit keeps bringing me to my senses.  God’s call to minister….to pastor….to proclaim…those things run deep. I think one of the reasons I come to the oasis of your godhungry blog is because I know you will give me another reason to keep hungering, thirsting, yearning….for more…and what is yet to come. 

  4. Karin,Good thoughts.  You are right, most of these can be filed under complacency. I like the way you link this idea with the hazards that you deal with due to your job.  Very good.  Something all of us ought to take more seriously.

  5. Marshall,Thanks for your comment.  I am glad that this was fitting for where you are in your life right now.   I appreciate you and really think that your future looks bright.

  6. Gary–Thanks so much for your affirming and encouraging words regarding this blog.  I also appreciate the way you express the reality of your own faith walk and ministry.  (I identify very much with what you said, Gary.)

  7. I would have to claim on a very serious level that some Christians today are falling away in disrepute do to the fact that several of our church Fathers are not even educated in the least, or even have fufilled the requirements of a ordained Pastoral Minister-yipes; and many as well needing pertient training of how to infactly win your peers through loving kindness & interpersonal relations that will provide consistency, groundedness of security, and a continual strive of a "Christ like forgiving and reconsiling Community".  This, for me, is a serious future endeavor for the church to open its hands up towards–too many seekers, purgers, and runaways from the church episode–looking rather for more consistencies again…starting with the leaders and corresonding in a spiral downwards.  A furturisic need for gathering those who left in disrepute ~ too regaining their confidences……listening to great men of full knowledge….The Pope Benedict for one ~ for starters….and his desperate reasonings for requesting reconsiliational ministries…and infactically "The Why" of their needs…..I’d rather call it a Not Self Pity Party…..but , an  energency call to the churches left almost (some) empty…..and dwindling…. with the seen affects daily &  repeatedly.  A call to the churches for all….asking forgiveness for certainnesses of course, some  small failures, some huge …amen    "Rahab"  

  8. Great thoughts!  And you are so correct.  But I am curious why you targeted pastors/ministers in your blog without mentioning the lay leaders and pew warmers, too.  Pastors and ministers are not the only ones who are subject to loss of heart and they are certainly not the only ones who are called to proclaim Jesus.  We all are.  Our pastors and ministers sacrifice much to follow and serve the Lord.  We should be consistently lifting them up in prayer rather than singling them out.  This is a blight on the Church as a whole.  We should be praying for a reawakening within the Body.  Thank you for your thoughts.

  9. Another threat is "Qualifications for giving/receiving love"This might include the following thought lines: "If I love you then you will do X" or "Before I love you, you must have done X" or "If you have done Y, then I don’t need to love you or you don’t deserve my love."They will know we are Christ followers by our love.  

  10. Joyce,I really like this.  You are so right.  Another threat is "Qualifications for giving/receiving love."  Very good.

  11. Michele,Thanks very much for your kind words.In regards to your question about my targeting pastors/ministers in the last post: When I am writing a post, I am basically communicating what is on my heart at the moment (or what I might be thinking about).  Because I am in this "minister" role and because so many of them read this blog, I will often have an entire post or a line of a post that is pointed in that direction.  (Quite often I am point this at me!)Of course you are right regarding other members of the body, etc. No argument here.  Thanks again.

  12. Rahab,Thanks for your comment for expressing some matters that are of very great concern to you.  In particular I appreciate your passion and care for the church of the future.

  13. Your very welcome Jim Martin~perhaps you can help get Scot Mcknight back on track with his personal issues of pain, guilt, and non-remoresenesses for some poor behaved things w/me….hiding behind his computer wall will not help him in the least…..or relying on me for a Soul person~who is not his wife of consistency. He needs inspiration from a friend~a man~but, to rather call him too account within the integrity and honesty levels in friendships, and of some small things , many done wrong–ask him. Although we love him much~Rahab