Christianity · Theology

The Myth of the “Efficient” Christian Life

One of the biggest temptations for modern-day American Christians is to make their practices of Christianity more “efficient.” As a twenty-first century Christ-follower, I can provide personal evidence for this hypothesis. It’s hard enough to pick up the Bible, harder still to start reading it, and much harder still to read it for a significant amount of time when education, social media, other sorts of reading, and other aspects of living budge into the forefront of the mind. Such an abundance of distractions compels us to consider that if we wish to draw near to God, we have to get out of the world’s way, all its joys and temptations and trials.

Faced with this dilemma, the modern American Christian usually gives in to worldly schemes, saying that (1) this precise time of succumbing will be one small step into sin rather than one giant leap, and that (2) if he does pick up his Bible, it will have to be short and sweet, because he has more going on that day that simply cannot wait. If this hypothetical Christian acts in accordance with this principle, he will likely commit the sin of priority and skip lightly through his Bible. In other words, he will indulge as much as he can in his sin and as little a time as he can in the Scriptures. He will venture into sin beyond the God-approved principle of zero-tolerance and trudge into the Bible via the man-approved principle of as-long-as-you-feel-like-it. 

This, my friends, is where the efficiency myth worms its way into the recesses of our hearts. Somehow we believe that we can place the Bible as supreme while spending little time in it. Efficiency is a mixture of work well done and time not wasted/reduced, and it works in all the other areas of our lives. Why not apply it to the Scriptures?

The thing is, efficiency always applies to the strictly methodical and/or mundane parts of life. We strive to be efficient in the workforce only so we shall get more from the same amount of time, so we can go home and love our families and spend money and go after the pleasures we have been thinking of the whole day. If Christianity is no more than a methodical duty, a mundane, sometimes seemingly vain pursuit, then our consciences would not convict us when we attempt to be more “efficient,” whether that effort would come from reading about the Bible instead of reading the inspired work itself or even from reading a whole book of the Bible without taking the time to understand or concentrate upon it. 

But if you are indeed God’s child, if He is extending His mercy to your soul, then your conscience will convict you whenever efficiency is placed over qualitative study of the Scriptures and interaction with God. The conscience, in turn, convicts because our pursuits are empty. The newfound glory of eternity is incomparable to an empty duty in the name of work. If we believe the Bible and Christ and God to be important at all, then we by all means necessary should run back to the One who saved us and ask Him to make  our pursuit of Him a pleasure and not work—for are we truly efficient when we do something we genuinely love? When we indulge in sin, are we not declaring our love for the flesh greater than that of God?

Today you might have visited Defy Augury because you feel it is theological enough to satisfy the requirement of your spiritual pursuit, or because you know you should read he Bible but do not feel it to be convenient at the moment. I want to reach out to you. Close this window. Shut up this article and get back to it later. Pick up the Bible. Do not be afraid to come back to its Author, because if you do, He will come beside you (James 4:8) and lift you up, protecting you in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:1,4). If you haven’t come to Him before, do it now, before death sweeps over you and you are aflame in God’s wrath and Satanic eternity.

Simply put, God loves you. But if you truly want to love Him back, spend as much time as you need, not as you want, with Him in that pursuit.

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:29, NKJV

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” ~Luke 9:23, NKJV


~Sarah Merly

October 13, 2018

Isaiah 53