About 32% of the people in the world identify in some sense with Christianity, which is about 2.5 billion. I have no idea how many of those truly walk with Christ—God does, of course—but it seems that if there were 2.5 billion dedicated Christ-followers in the world, some of our problems wouldn’t exist. Right?
Part of the answer is obvious—there’s a difference between what we call ourselves and what we actually are. There’s a difference between checking a box on a questionnaire and living out the implications of faith.
Perhaps you’ve heard this distinction before: some people know about Christ, and some people know Christ. Which group are you in?
Notice Paul’s emphasis here: “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). That I may know him.
That’s what it means to be a Christian, and I believe that’s what so often frustrated Jesus. Often in his ministry the crowds around him swelled. He’d perform a miracle—feed a hungry crowd, heal a blind person, raise someone from the dead—and the numbers would go up. They were curious, intrigued, often amazed. But not committed.
Inevitably he’d stop and face them and say something like this: “If you’re not willing to die with me . . . if you’re not willing to commit everything to me, you can’t follow me.” There’s a difference between being in the “Jesus crowd” and being a Jesus-follower.
So back to our original concern: why the disconnect between the hundreds of millions in the world who claim Christ and all of the sinful stuff that’s going on? Some of the 32% don’t really know Christ.
But as always, our concern is a little close to home. Do you know him? Are you following him or just interested in him? Does he intrigue you or lead you? There’s a huge difference.
Let’s pray about it this week. Let’s ask God to deepen our commitment, grow our faith, and convict us when we’re tempted just to shuffle along with the rest of the interested-in-Jesus crowd. Let’s beg God to help us truly know him.