The rise of the fragile Christian: How ease is becoming a way of life

Jesus who created heaven and earth and conquered the grave lives in us, and His Gospel is still the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

“While most Western Christians accept the idea of self-sacrifice, many seem ill-prepared for what the Gospel actually requires. Rather than the saints showing up for the work of ministry, we are witnessing the rise of an army of fragile Christians who would rather cling to privilege than carry their cross.”

 

When life is hard, it’s hard. Pain is not a fiction. Stressors can confuse and discourage us. Sometimes we bend, buckle, and even break under the weight of our responsibilities. Consequently, we do not always think or behave as we should.

Depression and other emotional health challenges are a way of life for many Christians. A widely prevalent generational family dysfunction has left many adults totally unprepared for marriage and parenting expectations. Cultural pressures moving away from traditional gender and sexuality norms create confusion and conflict in our hearts and often in many of our relationships. Just to pile on, cynicism and hypercriticism on the political front has never been higher.

None of this is easy, and much of it is overwhelming. So renewed efforts to build greater empathy, to show compassion to the broken, and to care for the vulnerable are more important than ever. For the Christian, however, the responsibilities of justice and mercy are ours to give as much as they are ours to receive.

Jesus said whoever wants to be first must become a slave (Matthew 20:27). He said He had nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). His life of love for others was characterized by personal sacrifice. In Dietrich Bonheoffer’s Cost of Discipleship, he wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” More recently, David Platt wrote,

While most Western Christians accept the idea of self-sacrifice, many seem ill-prepared for what the Gospel actually requires. Rather than the saints showing up for the work of ministry, we are witnessing the rise of an army of fragile Christians who would rather cling to privilege than carry their cross.

This fragility shows up in at least three areas of life:

Culture

Although the apostle Peter wrote, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12), the fragile Christian often finds the disagreeable or even opposing forces bearing down on them as unusual. Even small sacrifices are seen as a nuisance or interruption rather than as privilege.

These fragile Christians react in shock when people who have no allegiance to Jesus, and perhaps no real knowledge of Him, make moral decisions that are counter to a biblical worldview. They forget that sin’s power darkens the heart and sears the conscience of the unbeliever. Instead of being grieved over sin and motivated to bear witness of the redeeming work of Jesus, the fragile Christian gets offended, frightened, or both.

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