I am the type of person that can get fixated on something pretty easily. I mean really fixated. For example, a couple of weeks ago at my small group one of the members brought all the “fixins” to make smoothies… you know bananas, strawberries, yogurt, crushed ice, fruit juice… to be honest I had never really like smoothies before, but they looked really refreshing so I jumped in and had one. Ever since then I have been a bit obsessed with them. I pulled out my old blender, got the same “fixins” and began “smoothing”… I began stopping at places like Tropical Smoothie, Planet Smoothie, and any other establishment that advertised the cool, summer drink. They’re delicious! And right now, I can’t get enough of them.
Is this just a phase with me? A periodic fad in my life? Only time will tell… I mean I started drinking cappaccinos over a year ago, and that hasn’t slowed down.
Working at church I see people using faith in that same way. They start coming to church and get really excited. They buy all the books, join all the classes, volunteer for everything. But then after a while something changes. For some people, the excitement wanes, but they keep at their faith with some level of commitment. They settle in and exercises in faith becomes a regular part of life. For others, things drop-off a little bit at a time. First, they stop volunteering for things, their Bible reading and prayer time are things of the past, they stop attending Bible studies, and their church attendance goes for consistent to non-existent.
When you first become a Christian it is natural to become extremely excited and then over time see that excitement wane a bit. The test is what happens next… Does your faith in Christ change from an anamoly to the regular focus of your life, or does it get filed into the fad category with hoolahoops and rollerblades?
In Luke 8, Jesus told one of my favorite parables about a farmer who goes out to sow seeds. In this parable there are four different types of seeds: One that fell along a path and was trampled or eaten by birds, a second that fell in rocky soil and began to grow at first but was unable to take strong root, still others fell among thorns and weeds and though the grew for a time eventually they were chocked, and a final type of seed that fell on good soil that was able to take root and grow. Alot of people that treat faith as a fad are like the seeds that either fall on the rock or among the thorns. Those on the rock hear the Word of God and get pumped and excited and volunteer and do all the things that “good” Christians do, but they don’t take to the time to let God take real and lasting root. So, they burn out and fall away. Or they may be like those among the thorns that start strong, but financial worries, or family obligations, or work pressures, or hobbies cloud their view and they fall away.
Think about your life and those around you… where does your faith rank? Do you know people who have put their faith to the side and treat it more as a phase than a lifestyle? What is the remedy?