The Warning Label

During my usual route down highway 40 this week, I was listening to a call-in show on the radio. One of the callers said something to the effect of, “Recently, I became a Christian and my life has been awesome ever since.”

My heart rejoiced, but my mind cringed. I wish the caller would have used a different word.

“Awesome” has a broad definition, but we don’t often use it in it’s full meaning. These days, we say our pizza is awesome, that movie was awesome, or my new shoes are awesome. We seem to always use it to describe something good, happy, or cool. It almost seemed like false advertisement. I realize that this wasn’t the caller’s intention and she had very limited time on the radio, but it worries me when people could be lead to think that Christianity will make their problems disappear, or their lives perfect. If I had only thirty seconds on the radio, I hope I would say something like, “I became a Christian and my life has been turned upside down. But, I know without a doubt that I made the right choice.” If I had longer, I would go in to more detail, careful that the listeners knew what kind of God is behind the Voice calling them.

Shouldn’t we be free to be completely authentic, transparent, and forthright about what it means to be a follower of Christ? Jesus definitely shot straight with the rich, young ruler who approached him. The young man was trying use his goodness to earn salvation. Jesus basically told him that he had to be willing to give up what he valued the most. This cost was too high for the rich guy and he walked away from Jesus. (Luke 18) Jesus did not try to sweeten the deal or water-down the commitment. Shouldn’t we be just as honest with seekers about the disease that they have inherited and what it takes to be healed?

Still driving and thinking, my mind went to those medicine commercials where the first half of the commercial describes the wonderful results of the drug and the second half is filled with warnings. Maybe the warnings for accepting Christ would go something like this:

Taking this medicine will bring an immediate cure. However, symptoms will persist and patients should be on the look-out for many side-effects:

100% of Christians will experience humbling which will result in feeling small, helpless, and needy. Your vision will improve, and your view of your utter depravity will be accurate.

You will definitely experience periods of loss of control. These will be sporadic, sudden, and scary. Once the work of God has begun, there is nothing to alleviate this feeling except to remain in close communication with your Physician. During these fearful times, it’s important to not panic or take your medical care into your own hands. You will only prolong the discomfort.

There will be pain. Your Physician needs to perform many procedures in order to make you whole. One of the first, is a heart transplant. The heart of stone that you were born with is diseased and limited. After the Surgeon’s expert cutting, your new heart will be malleable, expandable, and able to pour itself out. You will experience much tenderness and swelling, but the result will be a new heartbeat that’s perfectly synced with His.

100% of Christians also report significant dizziness and weakness. God will have to shake you off of whatever you’re standing on now, so that He can be your foundation. This is for your safety, you understand. The shaking might leave you feeling disoriented and unsteady, but it’s temporary. Also, He’ll have to pry your fingers from a lifelong grip on whatever is between you and Him. This usually leads to hands that are so weak that they can only lay wide open, or are only capable of a loose grip.  Because of the seriousness of your condition, this process must be done regularly, but you’ll learn to resist less and less. Immediate relief will follow.

Another frequently reported side-effect is a feeling of great tension. This will be a direct result of your new dual-citizenship. Once accepting Christ, will be living in the “already and not yet” (Tim Keller). You will have already been completely healed, but you won’t yet be experiencing freedom from your symptoms. Like the famous disciple, Paul, you will sometimes have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  (Romans 7:18-20). However, be patient and try to relax. If you allow this stress and tension to take over, the healing process will be impeded.

Other side-effects may include a decreased appetite for things of this world, sensitive hearing, and frequent bending of the knees.

You may experience all of these side-effects to some degree and possibly others that are not mentioned. Every patient’s treatment is different to meet his or her unique, personal needs.

Additional warnings: If you have no desire to be completely known yet fully loved, this medicine is not for you. However, refusing to take this medication as directed will result in the certain loss of life. If you have any questions or hesitations, please seek help from the Physician who has found the only cure for death. He already has your medical history and has signed His name on your record. He is prepped for surgery, has made perfect plans for the restoration of your health, and paid the price for your treatment. For His credentials, please see below:

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