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The Escapist Mentality
April 16, 2013 Nick Peters

The Escapist Mentality

Posted in Forum Post

Do you want to die and be with Jesus? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In Philippians, Paul tells us that he desires to die and be with Christ. Does that fit anyone else? How many people really want to die and be with Christ? I have met several Christians that it seems their #1 desire at this point is they just want Christ to return so they can get out of this world. They want to die and be with Him.

Astute readers could be thinking, “Nick. That’s not the whole verse! Don’t you know how it ends?!”

Of course I do. I wanted to just emphasize the one part for now. What Paul said is that yes, he does desire that, but to go on living is more necessary.

Keep in mind, he said that in jail as well.

I consider Paul to be quite realistic in his approach. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to being with Christ. Yet Paul says this when it could be that death is right around the corner and he’s not sure which way things will go. Today, many Christians take a different approach. They want to die just because they want out of this world.

Note that last part is just as problematic to me. We have this idea that this world is an awful place and that we need to abandon ship and go back to the homeland. What if this world is the homeland? What if my overall position is right and the goal of God is to bring Heaven to Earth? Now this isn’t something that comes by political advancement or government actions, though we should seek the best in those areas, but by a divine act of God through the preaching of the gospel.

We should all be ready if need be to die for Jesus, but we should seek all the more to live for Him. Dying is scary, but quite simple. Once it’s done, it’s done. Living is a lifetime action that requires constantly dying to yourself. Dying for Jesus could be a way to bypass the harder task of living for Him.

We as Christians are called to engage the culture. We are not called to escape it, and too often we are escaping it and hiding in our little Christian caves and only interacting with people who agree with us. You might be building yourself up, but you’re not doing much for the culture that way.

This also includes pastors. Too many pastors just want to speak to like-minded people and don’t know what to do when the skeptic shows up with hard questions. It takes little courage to stand up to people who already agree with you and tell them what they already agree with. It’s like standing up in Hollywood and saying you support redefining marriage. If I want to hear about the courage of someone in Hollywood speaking out, I’ll wait until one of them has the guts to accept an award at the Academy Awards or some similar event and say they think marriage should only be between one man and one woman for life.

I prefer to engage the culture instead since I also think my eternity depends on what I did with this life. Did I live it in service of Jesus Christ? Did I leave this world a better place than I did when I came into it? I want it to be that when I stand before the throne, I will hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I want to know that any future descendants I have will be better off and if we don’t have children ourselves, I want to know that the world will be better for everyone else’s children.

This also fits in with the therapeutic nature of Christianity today. We want to feel safe and secure. It’s why ministries that do that get so much support, but apologetics ministries, like this one, don’t get much. Many people are interested in what helps them feel good. They’re not as interested in material that makes them think or engages the culture.

Of course, there are other ministries worth supporting. There’s nothing wrong with giving to your local church, which you should do, or supporting charities that help out with physical and mental conditions and such for people, or help families in crisis, or many other good things, but too many people can just give to a ministry and think that means they’ve done their part in Christian service. Well that is a part of it, but it’s not the whole deal. It would be like saying you hired a maid and therefore you cleaned your house. If you can afford a maid, great, but don’t speak about it like you’re the one really working.

The irony is that many of these Christians want to escape the world because it’s so evil and not realizing that their failure to engage the culture is making it worse for them and everyone else. You don’t like the way the world is? Neither do I. In fact, neither does God. That’s why Christ came! If you don’t like it, then instead of running away, do something about it.

In this battle, myself and other apologists I think are the ones on the front lines directly debating those seeking to do away with the only hope we have. Not everyone is meant to do that. I get it. I think everyone should have a basic apologetic argument for themselves, but not everyone is meant to be a professional apologist. Then do your own part.

We’ve already mentioned financial support. That’s good and should be done, but also be an encourager for those on the front lines. Go help out those in need. Volunteer at your church. Be willing to go on a mission trip. Seek to study the Bible and learn more about what it means to be like Christ and show that to the world. There are countless ways you can serve Christ.

When your work is done, you will be called into the presence of Jesus. You can look forward to that, but make sure your sole goal in life is not to escape what you see around you. You are where you live and you are when you live as well for a reason. Acts 17 tells us that. Your existence is not a mistake, but what you do with it could be. Seek to live the life for Christ.

If we will actually engage the culture, we will be amazed at what could happen. I think we could really end the marriage debate easily. We could do so much to stop the silent holocaust of abortion in our land. The spreading and living of the gospel will also do more to stop mass shootings than any law the government can pass.

Save the world. Engage the culture. Be Christian.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

This post originally appeared at Nick Peters’s blog, Deeper Waters.

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