Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Cardboard Christians. . .

Wouldn't You Rather Soar?

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 10 March 2009

Refuse to be average.
Let your heart soar as high as it will.”

~ A. W. Tozer

Adrian Rogers calls them cardboard Christians. They’re Christians -- Yes. But they are average. Very, very average.

They are typically quite active in the local church. They may even lead a Bible Study or head up the youth group. Might even be the pastor’s wife. Or the pastor! Sadly, they've surrendered to the environment of the typical Evangelical church in America.

They are Christians. They are leaders. But they are average.

One of the greatest foes of Christianity is complacency. Any Christian who believes that he or she has arrived at spiritual maturity will go no farther.

The snare is believing we have arrived at the point of “soaring” when we aren’t even close. It could be likened to the teenager who is so certain she is "in love" only to realize at a later (more mature) stage of life that she wasn't so much "in love" as she was "stupid."

Average Christians don't necessarily realize they're average.

If you’ve ever tried to share Christ with an unsaved person (e.g. an atheist) in the grip of skepticism, who wants only to debate on an intellectual level with you, then you understand that the debate only enforces self absorption and nothing is accomplished.
This is what confronting an "average" Christians is like. . . .

Christian complacency is encountered almost everywhere among Christians these days. Average Christians fill the pews in almost every church. Their presence is a both a sign and a prophecy. Evangelical churches are indeed average; and they have fallen to this present low estate because of a lack of soaring Christians encouraging others to also soar . . . .

If indeed 90% of Americans believe in God and the current population of the United States is approximately 305 Million, this means we have 275 Million people thirsting after God. Right?

The number of persons in the United States who described themselves as either Evangelical or Born-Again has fluctuated over the last 25 years, but a reasonable estimate is 35 percent of the population or just under 107 Million. This means we have 107 Million people REALLY thirsting after God. They're soaring!! Right?

The state of our culture is proof opposite. Among the many who profess Christianity, there are very (very!) few that reveal any passionate thirst for God.

The great Saints of the Bible all had thirsting hearts. Their cry was,

“My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”
~ Psalm 42:2

Their longing after God all but consumed them -- it propelled them onward and upward to heights which we could accurately describe as soaring!

Today, less ardent Christians look at these Saints and entertain no hope of reaching this same state of soaring!

Why?
Why can't we soar too?

We can. Examine yourself using the following criteria for being a true Christian thirsting after God:

Do you hear from God regularly?
Do you share what you hear?
Have you stayed with Jesus through good times and bad?

The sharing-part and the staying-part might be easier than the hearing-part. Do you hear Him? We have to hear God if we want to soar.

He speaks through His Word. I don't know anyone who has really heard God speak audibly. I do, however, know quite a few soaring Christians -- and they read and meditate on His Word. Daily.
This is where soaring lessons begin.

If there are parts of the Bible that we just don’t understand no matter how many times we read it -- We just need to admit that and begin to thirst after God by starting simple:

If you don’t understand the Scripture, start obeying the simple parts of Scripture that you do understand and you will then be able to understand the parts that you don’t understand. Understand?

~ Adrian Rogers

What if hearing and understanding a portion of Scripture were a requirement for our job? How diligently would we seek to hear and understand?

Do we really thirst for God to the point that we will do whatever it takes to understand it . . . even in our "chilled" environment? How badly do we want to soar?

“Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.
~ Aiden Wilson Tozer
The Root of the Righteous

~ Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
© 2009 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife


This installment of InOtherWords is hosted by Deborah on her blog, Chocolate & Coffee.

18 comments:

Denise said...

Wow, this is very powerful my friend.

sara said...

oh, that was awesome! and so appropriate for our church today.

I want to SOAR!!!! And I want other's to SEE me SOAR and desire it for themselves!

Sita said...

This is powerful. I have to say that I did not understand the issue of complacency in my own life until the unthinkable happened and the floor just disappeared. "How could this happen? I mean, I was doing everything right? I was a good girl. It was then I was confronted by the holiness of God. I searched His Word like I had never done. I saw sins I never did. I realized I was not so good a girl after all and that God does not give us as we deserve, any of us, or we'd all be wiped out! I understood in first person the concept of grace for the first time.

Since then, many more crises have occurred. God has been strippin away any facade of control I think I have and wants to be my all-in-all. Sadly, as long as all is hunky-dory, we don't even know we so average.
Thank you for reminding me of when God 'woke' me up. Blessings to you.

Betsy Markman said...

Another awesome, AMEN post!

Don't you wonder sometimes if anyone even hears the words they sing in church? And yet we've all been dead to them at one time or another. The heart is deceitful...

Laurie Ann said...

May I never become a complacent Christian.

Esthermay, this just encouraged the socks off me to soar higher for Christ! I love the Adrian Rogers quotes. I miss him dearly but he remains an inspiration to me to just never settle.

Barbara said...

I like the analogy of the teenager in love. So true. Don't you think the battle between soaring Christians and cardboard Christians creates such a distraction that churches can't really function as churches? It's sad. The debate is fruitless and prayer is the only answer. I pray for the unsaved "Christians" I know everyday.
Good post today my friend.

Kate said...

Good. Good. Good.
Victoria Jackson was on Hannity last night. She is a born-again Christian now and was cracking me up She’s like the voice of truth and I don’t think Sean or his guests knew how to take her. She had her BIBLE with her. Can you believe it?? Anywhoo. You remind me of her. You tell truth and I hope people get it. Lot’s of cardboard floating out there.
Good. Good. Good.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Cardboard Christians...I will remember that. It's a great analogy!

mholgate said...

I completely agree. In order to hear from God, we must be saturated with His Word on a daily basis. I seem to be in a season of soaring right now. Whether it be Sunday morning sermons, Bible Study, or my own daily reading, I have a deep longing to know Him through His Word.

Great post!
-Melissa

Debbie said...

I think so many Christians compromise in their walk. They become too comfortable with the things of this world, forgetting that this isn't our final destination. If we're not growing closer to the Lord each day, we're backsliding. I desire to grow in my faith but my flesh often gets in the way. It's a moment by moment choice.

Very good post!

Ben said...

EXCELLENT!
I love Tozer.
I love Adrian Rogers.
Good post.

kalopoieo said...

It doesn't really matter much anymore what comes from the pulpit in most churches. Social gospel vs. Gospel of Christ. The church as a whole receives it lukewarm. We are living in the age of Laodicea. You rightly point out that this is both a sign and a prophecy.
Wholehearted Amen.

Susan said...

Another awesome post Estermay.

No time to be cardboard.

He's looking for a spotless bride.

I want to be ready.

I hear Him calling me daily, come closer...

writingcanvas said...

I loved your take on this - esp. with the Cardboard Christians. Thank you for sharing today!

Crown of Beauty said...

This is a very good post, and I appreciated reading it. The way you highlighted your words, and used fine print in between was really so creative.

I really do not remember visiting your blog before, and I told myself, how could have missed it? I saw your comment on a past post and I'm so sorry to be acknowledging it only now. (Maybe I did then, but somehow, I have no memory of having done so.)

I took time to look around your blog,a nd your other blogs as well. To be a homeschooling mom, and to be a pastor's wife, and to be able to do that Project 365, plus come up with a Facebook evangelistic project, and a very creative blog AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT YOU DO ON A DAILY BASIS, you really deserve admiration.

Yes, I do totally agree with you that blogging is a huge temptation to be prideful. I've struggled with that many times before, and have asked God to keep me from being self-serving, and self-absorbed in my daily posting. BLogging for me is a matter of always asking God for guidance...to be sure He gets the glory alone, and that my posts do not become a venue for me to show off and subtly brag and blah-blah-blah. I'm sure you know what I mean.

And so, after all I have said (phew!) all I want to really say is that you have a great blog! I appreciate your heart! And I look forward to coming back for more.

Blesings on your day, dear Esthermay.

P.S. I love your coffee-drinking dog! What breed is he (or she)?

Edie said...

I just love your posts. You go straight into the deep waters. I LOVE it. I began soaring but I have to confess that I'm not always soaring. Perhaps that too is part of the growth cycle. My desire is always to soar with my Beloved. Thank you for this post.

Your post "Can A Born-Again Christian Support President Obama?" sparked a post out of me too and I pulled a quoted from yours. Mine is scheduled to post on Friday and of course I linked to you.

Rich blessings to you!!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Amen, my friend! NOW is the time!

Ephesians 5:14b-16 (New International Version)

This is why it is said:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Kathy S. said...

Yes!

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