Since I was a new person, I became aware of a new mission: to spread the gospel into all the earth — starting with my roommate. No one was immune from my infectious faith. Not my fellow athletes, not my fraternity brothers, not my party friends, not my professors. To say I became a fanatic would be an understatement. I started collecting converts to Christianity like Michael Phelps collects gold medals. The more that God did, the more I began to understand that God was calling me to give him my whole life in full-time, vocational ministry.

As if on cue, when I was twenty-three, God opened a door for me to work at a historic downtown church. My dream-come-true slowly turned into a spiritual nightmare. What started out as a good thing quickly became an obsession. My service was never enough. And as my love for ministry burned hotter, my passion for Christ cooled.

My mission had become a job. Instead of studying God's Word out of personal devotion, I studied only to preach. Instead of preaching messages to bring glory to God, I preached to bring people to church. I promised hurting people I would pray for them, but I usually didn't follow through.

At the age of twenty-five, I was a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ.

An Invitation

Does any of this resonate with your experience? Was there a time in your life that you were closer to God than you are today? If you're like me, your spiritual drift didn't happen on purpose. Like a tiny leak in a tire, slowly but surely, your spiritual passion quietly slipped away. Maybe it has just become clear to you. Instead of a fully devoted follower of Christ, you've unintentionally become a full-time mom or full-time student or a full-time bank clerk — and a part-time follower of Christ.

Maybe like so many, you're a member of a church, but you're secretly still ashamed of your past. Perhaps you've heard about the love of God, but you're still not convinced that God totally loves you. Or though you're convinced God exists, your prayer life isn't what you know it should be. Perhaps like many other well-meaning Christians, you know what God wants you to do, but you still do whatever you want. Or you genuinely want to trust God as your provider, but you find it so hard to actually do. Possibly you believe in heaven and hell, but sharing your faith with others is still foreign or simply way too intimidating for you. Or you may believe in God but don't see much need for the church.

I'll be honest with you about my struggles, and I hope you'll be honest as well. And together, with God's help, perhaps we can learn to know and walk with God more intimately.

The Christian Atheist
Copyright © 2010 by Craig Groeschel
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