I hope you enjoy this story about my last trip to California.
Once a year, my son and do our best to attend a Raider’s game and have a great meal. I fly to California and he drives up to the Bay Area. After the game we took Bart into San Francisco. We were sitting at the bar waiting for a table at the House of Prime Rib, because neither one of us thought of making a reservation.
A couples sitting next to us at the bar began to talk about Christianity. I believe that their conversation started because they overheard me giving thanks for our meal. My best guess is that this was an online date and they were meeting for the first time.
The woman let him know that she was a Christian, and asked him about his beliefs. The conversation started something like this—
I don’t like the way that pastors sell Christianity. I believe that faith is a platform to help you make decisions and life choices. It’s a philosophy that has a few subtleties that set it apart from other religions, but mostly it’s the same as all religions. He went on to say that Jesus had some good things to say, but each person decides what is best for them and Christianity has some good points that can help you be a better person.
As he expressed his personal view on faith, the woman’s head slumped onto her shoulder. I can only imagine what her online profile read, something like, I am a committed follower of Jesus and attend church regularly. Everyone at the bar could tell the conversation was going poorly except for the woman’s date.
I was expecting her to respond to his misrepresentation of Christianity with a thoughtful and personal expression of faith. But she said nothing. Her body language said it all, head down and eyes closed. Unfortunately, he never asked for her opinion or paused long enough for her to make this dialogue into a conversation.
He finally noticed what her body language was screaming out, and asked, “Is there anything else you want to talk about?” She said, “No”, without making eye contact with him.
I anticipated being asked to give my opinion since my prayer started the whole conversation. But not this time, He asked for the bill and they left without speaking to each other. I looked at my son and said, I don’t think there will be another date.
At that moment, I felt the Lord speak this into my heart:
Christianity is all about what I have done for them, not what someone makes it out to be.
Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. I hope that you will reflect on this truth so that your faith will never drift into a philosophical or cultural expression of Christianity.
Our faith is a gift, a treasure that reveals the love that God has for each one of us. Your faith will be compromised, if you ever take your eyes off Jesus. Make a commitment to learn what he said, what he did, and who he claims to be.
In Psalms 39 we read, in your light we see light. The only way to keep your understanding of the light of Christ from being misrepresented by cultural or philosophical interpretation of the Scriptures is to keep your eye on Jesus and inviting the Holy Spirit to teach you the truth.