Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a sermon* my son delivered at a mission’s conference in May during his stateside. He used the term, consumer Christianity, which was not familiar to me at that moment. But it struck me to my core as I began contemplating its meaning.

   As I studied the passages of 2 Corinthians chapter 3, and especially verse 18, I was impressed, yet again, that what I experienced in life as a Christian was to transform me, experience after experience, into becoming more like Christ. I was familiar with this Truth, but my son’s sermon highlighted a point that had escaped me.

   As we grow and mature in our faith, we also grow in our understanding of the love God has for us. For along the way, we find that Jesus helps us to feel better about ourselves, and because of Him we feel more loved. He gives us friends and  helps us with our problems.  This is a wonderful thing to know and experience. But, if we are not careful, we will begin to act as if we were created  by God so that He could do all this for us. If we do not continue in our growth then we will likely find ourselves consuming God’s love for our own benefit. 

   As Christians we need to be aware of the temptation of consuming God’s love for  ourselves. An obvious sign that we have fallen prey to this temptation is that we become  more concerned about how we look to others than how we look to God. We are motivated by how good it feels to sing praises to God, to be a part of a church or work that is exciting, or to be a part of a popular Bible study.  

   We are tempted to forget that we are the created being, and that we were created for God. We might find ourselves more concerned about what Jesus can do for us. In this stage we can experience some growth, start walking closer to Jesus, start making better decisions, start doing things the right way but continue consuming God’s love for ourselves.

   I’m learning that we can forget that the purpose of following Christ is to become more like Him. That His life is to look like our lives.  That our lives are to look like His life. The image we see, if we have grasped the truth of it, is to grow to become more like Christ. But those of us who are consuming God’s love for ourselves are seeing no Christ-like transformations.

   You know that verse found in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” If we would but focus on living our Christian lives in such a way as to promote the truth of this verse, then I do believe we could resist much more successfully the temptation of consuming Christianity for ourselves.

   *Much of the content of this post was inspired by my son’s sermon at the mission’s conference