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Doug Johnson: Christians need to check their relationship with God

Veteran researcher George Barna wrote a book entitled, The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter.

In that book, he outlines seven diverse faith segments, profiling their lifestyles, religious beliefs, values, and life goals. Two of those faith groups are the Casual Christians and the Captive Christians.

Barna’s research indicates that Casual Christians represent 66 percent of the Christian adult population of the U.S. (or two out of every three adults). Captive Christians represent 16 percent of Christian adults.

Captive Christians are defined by their faith; their worldview is built around their core spiritual beliefs and resultant values.

Casual Christians are defined by their desire to please everyone — God, family, and other people — while extracting as much enjoyment from the world as possible.

“The big difference between these two groups,” Barna writes, “is how they define a successful life. For Captives, success is obedience to God, as demonstrated by consistently serving Christ and carrying out His commands and principles. For Casuals, success is balancing everything just right so that they are able to maximize their opportunities in life without undermining their perceived relationship with God. Casual Christians are about moderation in all things while Captive Christians are about complete devotion to God regardless of the worldly consequences.”

So, which one are you?

If this study is accurate, then the majority of those reading this article could be classified as ‘Casual Christians.’

But what does the Bible have to say about being a casual believer?

First of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ has always been confronting.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

In other words, we all have sinned and the sins we commit will sentence us to eternal separation from God.

But it is by God’s grace that He sent His only Son (Jesus) to die in our place; to take our sin upon Himself.

The movie “The Passion of the Christ” clearly depicts the cruel beating and crucifixion that Jesus had to endure so we could be free.

Believe me, there was nothing casual about it!

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

He wasn’t talking about casually wearing a cross on a necklace or a t-shirt. But to deny ourselves and live captively (wholeheartedly) for Him wherever we go.

Jesus also said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

That means we are to show our love for Him by following the Ten Commandments daily.

In light of this new research study, it would probably be a good exercise for everyone (including myself) to reevaluate our commitment to God.

When we put Him first, He has promised to supply all our needs (Matthew 6:33) and give us eternal life (John 3:16).

And that’s a truly successful life!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia