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Stephen R. Clark

#Writer #Christian #Introvert

Oreland, Pennsylvania
Joined June 1996


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From the October 1978 issue of Youth Alive! Magazine

All Temperature Christian

I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I grew up going to church. Yet, only until a few years ago was I a committed Christian. Be fore that, I was a wishy-washy Christian.

Through high school, my life centered around my church and my Christian friends. I never went to parties where there was alcohol or drugs. I was regarded socially as being “straight.” No one ever approached me with drugs because they knew it was useless. Yet, I’m ashamed of that image. I’m ashamed because it was merely an “image” and not a reality.

Even though outwardly I shunned “all appearance of evil, inwardly, I felt I was missing out on all the fun. But, in all honesty, I was by no means a saint. While I never really got involved in anything considered heavy, I toyed with sin. And I was jealous of those who were into drugs, who got drunk on weekends, who slept with their dates, and did everything I knew was wrong. In a sense, I was awed by their boldness.

On the other hand, I was ashamed at my timidity. When ridiculed or teased for being a “goody-goody,” I cowered into a corner. I was afraid to really take a bold stand for Christ, and to witness, because I knew I was as sinful as those around me.

This, I have discovered, is a problem for many teens. While they know of the joy and satisfaction of being a Christian, the rewards are not always as immediately evident as the pleasures of Satan. And so we are tempted and pressured to experience life and its pleasures now. We cannot see heaven, and going there is somewhere in the future; but sex, alcohol, drugs, cheating, lying, all these easy thrills are here right now.

Yet, too, we know that “the wages of sin is death.” And we know that the list above is a list of sins. So, we are caught in the middle. While trying to retain our image of being a Christian, we secretly nibble at the world’s candy.

Being wishy-washy is no fun. Just ask Charlie Brown. It creates anxiety. And because we can’t keep our sins a secret, it destroys our credibility.

We feel trapped. Because we’ve gone along a little, those that know us assume we’ll go further. But that wasn’t our intention! We try to stand on compromise. We start talking about white lies as opposed to black lies. We try to hold to the middle of the road. And that’s as deadly as going down the wrong side.

We might as well face it, we’ll never be happy at all until we give in, one way or the other. I once heard an evangelist say that if you felt called into the ministry, but you weren’t sure about it, to go into anything else except the ministry. If the call was genuine, he said, you’d never be anything but miserable until you heeded it.

his is true in all of life. All humanity is called to Christ, and all that accept His call are called further to commitment.  A person without Christ can never experience true peace and joy. There will always be a void in his life. And the Christian will never be happy or content until he is fully committed to the Lord. Besides, Christ was committed to our salvation enough that He died on the cross. How can we offer anything less than full commitment to Him?

It will mean giving up all of the pleasures we coveted before. But so what? And is it really a sacrifice? John White, in his book, The Cost of Commitment, states that the committed life “is clearly not so much a picture of renunciation as it is of re-evaluation.” In other words, those things that seem so desirable now won’t be desirable at all when seen through the eyes of a committed life and vision.

Sex is beautiful— in the bonds of a Christian marriage. Money is marvelous—when used for the benefit of His kingdom. Drugs are wonderful— when used for their intended purpose of healing and comforting. Cheating, popularity, lying, stealing, and all the rest are worthless because they have nothing to do with serving our risen Saviour. They are hindrances to our relationship with Him. And, as Paul says, “If anyone is of Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NASV).

And not only is there a change in our attitudes, but in others’ towards us. We will be respected and admired for taking a clear-cut, definite, and firm stand on God’s Word, and for living according to what we profess. Just think for a moment of someone you know who is a wishy-washy person. They’re unwilling to commit themselves to anything. They always answer with “Maybe” or “I’ll have to wait and see.” Afraid to accept the responsibility of commitment, generally they are not very well liked. And we are not called to be afraid or timid: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NASV).

Yet, too, while we will be respected, there are those who will ridicule and persecute us. But is this unique to Christians? Not at all. Jews are ridiculed for being Jews. Catholics for being Catholics, poets for being poets, carpenters for being carpenters, teens for being teens, and ethnic groups are ridiculed for being ethnic! It makes no difference what you are or who you are, someone will eventually ridicule you for doing or being it

Sinners will ridicule sinners. And so-called Christians, unfortunately, will ridicule Christians for believing and doing exactly as themselves. There is no way to avoid ridicule. Commitment is costly.

Yes, you will be ridiculed for being wishy-washy, too! And I’d rather be ridiculed and persecuted because of my commitment to Christ than for any other reason. It’s the only commitment worth the cost.

So, wishy-washy is all washed up! No one can accomplish anything being wishy-washy. God wants committed people. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow Him. And by doing so, we not only take upon us the responsibility for the cost but are offered special privileges. He wants us committed to Him because it’s good for us. There is no more anxiety or worry, no more guilt, no more timidity. Instead there is strength, power, peace, and immeasurable joy. Even in the face of hard ship and persecution.








Words For Summer: A small collection of writings for the season

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