The Berlin Wall surrounding East Germany was the singular glaring obstacle to real freedom in Europe from August 1961 until November 1989. For almost 30 years the people of East Germany were locked behind a wall, a wall of communism – a regime that kept the populace bound in a life of fear, freedom-less-ness, and hopelessness. Some were imprisoned or even killed for merely attempting to escape the prison that had become their home. And so, the people of East Germany, eventually settled for what they thought would be the only life they would ever live. Perhaps some of them argued that life behind the Berlin Wall was great, easy, and moving towards a bright hope and future. That is certainly what the GDR (German Democratic Republic) tried to promote through various fliers and advertisements… and so most people settled behind The Wall.
But a wall surrounds us too. I believe the biggest obstacle or wall around most everyone who claims to be a Christ-follower in America is this: Life is great! Life seems easy. Our biggest obstacle between genuinely following Christ is not that life is hard or full of persecution or suffering for Jesus’ sake, but that life is great – and we think we don’t need anything. We are happy to settle for the American Dream and the easy life of evangelical religiosity. And we don’t even know what we’re missing. You and I settle for life in a limited world behind a wall of small doses of Christianity and a palatable amount of Jesus. And we don’t even know what we’re missing….
Imagine with me for a moment that we live in East Germany, and we hear that President Ronald Reagan has shouted out those infamous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And yet, you and I think life is as good as it gets back in East Germany, behind the Berlin Wall. And so we settle into apathy, complacency, as if we don’t care.
We hear news that there’s something more to life than going through religious motions, saying the “sinner’s prayer,” and going to church like nice people should do. Yet we think life is great as it is. No need to change. And we settle. We think we have need of nothing more… really. I believe this is the biggest obstacle, the biggest wall between young people (and older people for that matter) in America and Jesus.
So, how are we supposed to respond to Jesus when life is great?
We are not the only Christ-followers who have faced this obstacle of complacency or apathy. We are not the only ones who have lived in a place of abundance where it is so easy to think life is as good as it gets, and that we don’t need anything. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John was inspired by the Spirit to pen a message to a church in the ancient, wealthy city of Laodicea, and the words are shockingly relevant to us today. So let’s turn to Revelation 3:14-22…
Listen to the full audio message entitled “Jesus vs. Easy-Life Religiosity” by simply clicking on the play button below or by subscribing to our iTunes podcast. This message was originally delivered at Evangel Baptist Church on Sunday, November 18th, 2012.