The term Crisis Christianity, describes a frequent phenomenon occurring when a follower of Jesus has a faith that is only activated in times of trouble. Characterized by complacency or apathy, the plateau is rarely intentional. But it creeps in during the ‘just fines’ of everyday life with a stagnancy that stops them from growth seeking. Then, upon the occurrence of a catastrophic life event, they are jolted back to reality and steeple chase to church at breakneck speed in search of solace.
If this sounds familiar, I’ll be the first to say I’m not immune.
The EpiPen Emergency Faith
For much of my life, I treated Jesus like a personal EpiPen. While closeby, but not truly my main focus, He sat in my back pocket for emergencies only. Quickly grabbing hold of the EpiPen during the inevitable life trial, I attempted to inject shortcut medicinal Bible verses into my soul. But my heart, having grown hardened over time, took multiple stabs of words, worship and prayer, for anything to penetrate the thick skin. Nothing made sense except for Psalm 13:1, and I would cry out in prayer “How long Lord, will you forget me forever?” But finally, after significant pursuit with my whole heart, a sweet relief and euphoric wisdom would arrive, similar to that of the pain relieving epinephrine from the EpiPen. Now, with joy and juices from the fruits of Spirit coursing through my veins, I felt powerful enough to take on the world. But then as life began to stabilize, and I started listening to a little more Lorde and a little less Lord, the EpiPen would end up in the back pocket again…Until the next crisis occurred, and the cycle repeated itself.
For a long time, I remained largely unaware of my emergency based faith tendencies. But one day, in my kitchen, as I chopped yams and heard a podcast on this very topic, a conviction struck me. Continuing to listen especially intently, as I seasoned the yams, I began to realize how little sense this made in both the supernatural and the natural realms. My followup questions made me shutter. What if husbands and wives lived in crisis covenants, ignorant of their distant coexistence until desperate times? Or what if close friends cut off their quality time, only to desperately try and reconnect during bankruptcy or breakups? I think its safe to say, that even for the most grace filled of people, there might be some lag time in the connection reestablishment.
Our most fulfilling relationships on earth require continual investment and effort in order to thrive. It should not be so different with God. Recognizing this parallel has led me to understand that crisis Christianity has serious disadvantages, and problematic implications of what we truly believe about Jesus. Of course, He always welcomes us back with open arms, but the approach need not be so catastrophic and irregular.
The Transformational Transfusion
Now, something I am continually reminded of, is that this “sweet relief and joy” concept I described earlier, is not only available, but actually promised in both the mundane and the crisis. The last couple of months I have made it a conscious effort to treat my relationship with Jesus NOT like an EpiPen, but rather like a mobile IV drip. In the medical community, IV lines are used for treating dehydration and providing a steady supply of nutrients to the human body. And as Christians, constantly remaining in Him, and in the line of the vine, will bring a transformational transfusion of peace and living water to the soul. This process takes effort, but so far, chucking my EpiPen has been the most effective solution for spiritual dehydration yet.
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38