Being wishy-washy

My son Deacon likes to change clothes. A lot. So much so that he's got regular outfits that he puts on at different times of the day and he's not even 3 years old yet. There is a soccer outfit that includes Adidas shorts and a long-sleeve shirt with a picture of a soccer ball on it. Then there is his basketball outfit which includes his red mesh basketball shorts and a short-sleeve Wake Forest shirt. There are, of course, certain shoes that match each outfit and he occasionally will throw in a pair of jeans for variety.

To say my son is wishy-washy about his clothing would be an understatement. While his outfits may be predictable, at what time of the day he will change into them is not. Sometimes he changes in the middle of the night while at other times he will change 3 times in an hour. If you're wondering if my child needs some counseling or is OCD, then relax. He's a really cool kid who likes to play the sports that match the outfit.

My son's dressing habits are kind of funny but what isn't so funny are the wishy-washy habits of many of us who call ourselves followers of Christ. Throughout the gospels Jesus issues many calls to discipleship, not the least of which was "If any man will come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) This wasn't a "come when it's convenient" call to follow Jesus. It was and still is a life-long, full-time, no holding back call to radically submit to the lordship of Christ no matter the cost.

Yet time and again in my own life, and in the lives of those to whom I minister, I have found that the predominate them is irregularity in the Christian walk. The moments of intense spiritual growth and pronouncement are often accompanied by periods that reek of apathy and indifference. Having worked with students for almost 2 decades, I have witnessed more "mountain top" type experiences that I can stomach and yes, I have made myself sick a time or two.

Why is it so hard to remain faithful and true to Jesus? John 6:60-66 outlines at least one reason: His teachings can be hard to follow. They can be so difficult that even during the height of Jesus' earthly ministry many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. It's hard to deny self, love your enemies, put others before you, be a peacemaker, stand in the midst of persecution, love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek, and so on. And then there's the whole surrendering yourself to Jesus and His will for your life that throws many of us for a loop. The initial honeymoon phase is exciting for us but then when we have to count the cost the luster wears off a bit.

There isn't a Christian anywhere who hasn't struggled at least once with being wishy-washy in his or her faith. What can we do to stay out of these spiritual doldrums when they arrive? Seek after Jesus with everything you've got. Something(s) has taken His place in your heart, now replace that with Christ. Get rid of whatever it is that is holding you back. Submit yourself to spiritual discipline and prayer. Find an accountability partner to help hold you true to the faith. And don't settle for mediocrity because that's like being okay with a plate of yesterday's sushi that you just pulled from the trunk of your car.

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