This I have been wanting to write for some time, but have put it off and am now glad that I did, as I have been able to better formulate my thoughts. My goal here is to make more easily understood a common and devastating issue. I only hope this helps to clarify. I refer to this problem as Fast Food Christianity. Recently a professor in one of my classes I took this last week made a reference to “fast food Jesus” recalling to mind this very topic that I have been wanting to write. By now I’m sure you are wondering what I mean (yes, I am assuming you’re interest, haha), so let me create a picture for you:
Imagine you drive up to a fast food restaurant. Behind the microphone, Jesus greets you with “May I take your order?” You respond with, “Yes, I’ld like an eternal life in heaven with no commitment. And may I exchange my kingdom treasures for riches here on earth? Thank you!” You excitedly grab your bag at the window and drive away without checking to see if you even got exactly what you ordered, only to later realize that this is not what you received. You’re angry about not getting what you ordered, but decide it’s too late to go back, so you settle with what you got, false hope that is deep-fried and salted to disguise its damaging effects.
You may laugh at such an idea, but this is what many people believe about Christianity, and even worse what many churches are teaching about salvation. That you decide when you are going to go to Jesus, based on when it is convenient for you and not going to cost you much, to request your eternity in heaven (which sounds great in comparison to hell) and a life of peace. He, of course, is supposed to freely hand this over upon your request and allow you to go on your way, back to your life of sin and destructive behavior.
For those who believe this, I have alarming news for you: JESUS DID NOT WORK AT MCDONALD’S!
This convenient, fast and easy-believism is not what Christ teaches in Scripture. Instead, He offers a far better alternative. Consider this scenario instead:
You receive a letter and this is what it says: “Dear [insert your name], I am your Father. You have rejected me ever since you were born, choosing instead to live in someone else’s house under someone else’s authority. I have sought you out because I love you. I want you back as my child. I will treat you as my child - caring for you and loving you, always keeping your best interest in mind, but also disciplining your disobedience. The one you now live with has allowed you to think you set your own path and steer your own course, because this is what you wanted. I will play no such games. I expect you to follow the course I have laid out for you. You see, I have already paid for you. You have been a slave and I had to buy you back. I paid for you with my own life, in death. I have come back from death to claim you. I am now inviting you to accept me as your Lord. Leave your life behind and come receive what I have for you."
This isn’t easy or convenient. Responding to this invitation requires sacrificing all that you have lived for to live for someone else. But on second thought, it also means you no longer have to go from pleasure to pleasure, trying to satisfy your desires. While it is entirely free, it demands a commitment. You have to be willing to obey, willing to live for the purpose of someone else’s pleasure.
Hmmm... this is not an easy decision. But this is what Christ requires of us (Luke 14:33). What we often fail to see is that the latter IS the better alternative. What do we gain by trying to use Christ as a side dish while we feast on this world? Nothing. What do we gain by giving over our lives in obedience to Him? Security. True love. A relationship. True peace. Hope for a future. Eternity in the presence of our Lord/Savior/King- A reward well worth the cost!