A few months ago, I had a dream, and the term “closet-atheist” was dropped in my mind. In this dream, I was surrounded by people but was not discerning where they were spiritually. Although they were atheists, their behavior would have fit in at any church.
A night soon after this, God impressed upon me the idea of a “closet-Christian.” He soon guided me in my unpacking of this term and what it means for myself and the Church.
One very startling idea I believe God put on my heart is that sometimes there is more hope for a closet-atheist than a closet-Christian. This is not true in an absolute way but has a very true warning for us as believers.
Here is why. A closet-atheist can have an encounter with God and experience the power of the Father’s transforming love. From this place, he can make the decision to metanoia (repent)! He can decide to walk in the newness of life provided at the cross.
A closet-Christian may wrongly think he has it all together; therefore, his pride and disobedience are keeping God at arm’s length. By not allowing the Father’s love and the Holy Spirit’s leading to penetrate his heart, he will stagnate and be fruitless for the Kingdom.
For a closet-Christian, the church is their closet. Within the four walls of this closet, they most likely do and say all the appropriate things to make it appear as though they are walking with Him. Outside the church walls, things look very different. If we saw them socializing with friends, observed them interacting with co-workers, or followed them as they navigate the highways, we would see a very different representation of their character. ‘Inauthentic’ is their middle name. Lack of integrity is in their DNA.
What is missing? They have not made God the Lord over every area of their lives. Daily submission to Him is not their normal practice.
I am very hopeful that few of you reading would fall into this category. But perhaps it would be good to do some self-inventory in this direction. What areas in your life do you find it hardest to live out your identity in Him? Areas where if our behavior, words, and even our thoughts were exposed, they would not stand well against a litmus test for Christian living.
Let’s use the following Scripture to take this test.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer,” (Psalm 19:14, AMPC).
“Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us),” (1 Corinthians 16:14, AMPC).
“So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God. Do not let yourselves be [hindrances by giving] an offense to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God [do not lead others into sin by your mode of life]; Just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything I do, not aiming at or considering my own profit and advantage, but that of the many in order that they may be saved,” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33, AMPC).
Another question we can consider is, “Are we completely sold out for Him in every area of our lives? Or do we, instead, sometimes take the easy route?” Most people are sold out for the world. They are driven by success, popularity, material gain, or physical attractiveness. The reality is, when we are not passionate about our pursuit of God, we are most likely drifting away.
“And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation: [Isa. 55:4; Prov. 8:22.] I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!” (Revelation 3:14-16, AMPC).
We need the transforming power of the Truth, Jesus, to shift our paradigm. Like Paul, we should be in a place where we count everything loss but knowing Him, and we should be able to say, “I am willing to die for Father God and for His kingdom work.”
When this shift happens and we step towards Him in faith, surrender, and obedience, we will have a Saul to Paul experience. We will truly be able to walk in the newness of life provided at the cross. We will be sold out for Him. This is how He has called us to live.
Father says to you, dear reader, “Now is the time to be completely sold out to Me. I am waiting for all your yeses.”
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