CINO – Christians in Name Only

My wife, Lisa, made a great comment last night. She said something to the effect of, “God expects us to make spiritual decisions in a worldly environment.” That’s actually quite a brilliant observation!

Think about this statement for a second. See if you can delve into the depths of what she said as it pertains to you own life.

It’s really a hard thing, you know, to make spiritual decisions in our worldly environment. The fact is most spiritual decisions run counter to and even clash with the world and our own earthly desires. Nearly every decision we make comes down to one thing: Do we do it God’s way or do we do it our way?

Which one do you choose the most? Be honest!

Jesus told us that following Him would have a cost. Clearly, He knew that following Him meant making spiritual decisions instead of worldly ones. He told us that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33) and that we have to pick up our cross daily and even give up our lives for Him (Matthew 16:24-26). It’s no picnic being a disciple of Jesus, but it never has been popular being a true follower of God – they killed the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus. Thousands upon thousands have been martyred. And for what? Simply making spiritual decisions in this worldly environment. Yet, Jesus tells us that if we love Him we will do as He commands (John 14:15).

Do you love Jesus enough to make spiritual decisions in this world?

Honestly, we all fail at this, but some professed Christians aren’t even trying and that’s disturbing.

I see Christians being self-centered and not focused on serving others.

I see Christians using the Lord’s name in vain.

I see Christians being disrespectful to their elders and others.

I see Christians drinking to get drunk.

I see Christians who have pre-marital or extra-marital sex (hetero and same).

I see Christians using drugs.

I see Christians who don’t read God’s word.

I see Christians who do not attend God’s church.

I see Christians who are greedy.

I see Christians who have idols in their lives.

I’ve seen Christians who are proud and boastful.

I see Christians who believe they are good because of their works.

I see Christians who judge others.

I see Christians who hate their neighbor and even their brother and sister in Christ!

I see Christians who plot revenge against their enemies.

I see Christians who do not really even think about Jesus in their daily life at all.

Or do I really see Christians or just Christians In Name Only (CINO)?

CINO is the hip new name some have given to “Nominal Christians” or those who profess the faith but don’t actually live it. CINOs don’t make spiritual decisions – they live just like everyone else, just trying to get by day-by-day. CINOs don’t get that what they do on this earth to glorify God has a direct bearing on their rewards in Heaven. CINOs may actually love Jesus, but not enough to do what He says because what He says is hard, and at times intolerant, and mostly doesn’t fit our cultural norms so Jesus couldn’t possibly be talking to them. CINOs refuse to be transformed by the renewing of their minds to become a new creation in Christ because they want to be conformed to the world – it’s a lot more fun than that stuffy old Bible stuff.

I think I’ve shared that I have a meeting coming up that has been consuming my thoughts. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or if it’s because I have a lot more awareness of this reality, but I have a meeting with Jesus coming up that could happen at any time!

So do you!

There are parts of that meeting I’m not looking forward to. Jesus is going to look at the first 40 years of my life and pretty much just shake His head. While it’s not totally void of serving God, it certainly was not a good effort on my part and is full of – well – me being a CINO. However, once we get through that painful process, I do believe I’ve done significantly better these past 13 years and counting. My goal between now and that meeting is to do everything I can to glorify God in everything I do not to make up for the first 40 years – that’s not how it works – but to make Jesus proud of me with each breath I have left before I meet Him.

How about you? What would happen if you were called home right now and met Jesus face to face? Would He commend you on the spiritual decisions you made here on earth or would He show disappointment that you were not mature enough to make spiritual decisions? Or worse yet, would He say He never knew you (Matthew 7:21)?

I’m proud of Lisa and her Christian walk. She continues to dive deeper and deeper into relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit rewards her commitment by further revelation. Our goal as individuals and as a married couple is to hold each other accountable to make spiritual decisions in this worldly environment because we are convinced that the promises of God are true and that were made for this very purpose.

Let me end by challenging you to give some thought to your life and encourage you to weed out worldly decision-making and replace it with spiritual decision-making. It’s a much harder road, trust me, but a much more enriching experience.

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