Why Are Christians So Serious about Everything?

When Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” do we really believe Him?

“I just don’t feel like people take me seriously.”

I’ve heard this statement a lot lately. Recently, I was talking with a friend who is burnt out and just plain tired of church. She said, “I’m done trying to get people to take me and my faith seriously.”

I kind of don’t blame her. Our church culture has taken on this tone of extreme seriousness, maybe even competitiveness—and not the good kind.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should gloss over hardships and struggles. There are times that call for somber response, but certainly not all the time. It’s easy to get around a group of Christians and have it become a contest of who had the longest prayer time that week or who will be going to the most extreme location on their summer mission trip.

If you don’t measure up with the “serious” Christians, well, it’s easy to start feeling like no one is taking you seriously. However, that being said, I think the desire we have to be taken seriously can sometimes come from the wrong place.

In the Message Translation, Micah 6:8 says, “And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.”

I wonder how many people who don’t know Jesus would be more attracted to Him if they saw Christians living out this passage.

Part of Jesus’ Good News to us is that His burden is easy and light.

Part of Jesus’ Good News to us is that His burden is easy and light. I have seldom met people who really live this out, but when I do, there is one thing they all have in common: They don’t take themselves too seriously. Actually, they’re kind of weird. They laugh a lot. It doesn’t take a lot to impress them, and they are completely in awe of the little stuff. They aren’t waiting for their big break in ministry or culture. They are not comparing themselves to others. They take God seriously, and because of that, they live freely.

So how in the world do you and I get our lives to look that way? How do we avoid taking ourselves too seriously? Here are a few thoughts.

Figure Out What You’re Faking

I usually have one of two motivations for any spiritual activity I take part in. The first is I do it because I genuinely love it and have a God-given passion for it. The other motive is driven by wanting others to take me or my faith more seriously—in other words, living in fear of man.

The second motivation is a dangerous road to walk. Unlike the first motive, you’re operating out of passion that’s God inspired. In the second, you’re operating out of shame, fear or pressure. These situations usually end poorly, leaving you feeling burnt out. You find yourself exhausted, trying to be something you’re not, which is never God’s desire for us. But most of all, you have no fun doing it.

I believe God is a joyful father who wants His kids to enjoy doing what He calls them to do.

Enjoy Life

People believe people that have fun and actually enjoy what they do. Recently, I was at my local coffee shop, and they were doing a push that morning to sell all of their scones. Now, I didn’t want a scone, I was just in line to get my usual caffeinated pick-me-up of choice. However, when I got to the front of the line, the barista started on a whole pitch about how today was “adopt a scone day!” She animatedly continued telling me a sad story of an orphan scone. Before I knew it, I was walking out with a snack to accompany my coffee. The barista was having so much fun with her job, I just wanted to be a part of it.

If the barista got me to buy a scone I didn’t want just because she was having fun and had a light-hearted approach to her to day-to-day activities, how would the reach and influence of many churches change if Christians had more fun? Even in our personal lives, we would have more influence and open doors with people (especially non-believers) if we were actually taking joy in God and the lives He gave us.

This isn’t to say we should hide the hard parts of faith, but just that it shouldn’t surprise us when people don’t take an interest in our faith when we advertise it completely without joy.

Take God Seriously

The powerful part about Micah 6:8 is that if we are truly taking God seriously, it results in being able to take the pressure off of ourselves.

The powerful part about Micah 6:8 is that if we are truly taking God seriously, it results in being able to take the pressure off of ourselves.

Some people are turned off by the Church when they encounter spiritual hype associated it. In contrast, people were drawn to Jesus during His ministry because He seemed like a normal guy. He sat down with people in the grass and had a fish and chips picnic with them. (OK, historically it was bread, but I think Jesus would like fish and chips.)

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The point is, He was pretty simple in his approach to relationships. He liked to hang out with fishermen, have real conversations and spend quality time with his friends. It was often the overly religious that butted heads with Him. And if anyone has ever had the right to take themselves way too seriously and demand that of others, it would have been Him. But He doesn’t demand that of anyone.

So let’s be real. We sometimes take ourselves too seriously. We even expect others to see us in this light, and we are wounded when they don’t.

When it comes down to it though, we’ve already been taken seriously. When Jesus died for us, He was taking us very seriously. Somewhere along the way though, that ceases to be enough for us. We have to hype ourselves up to feel like we matter. Sadly, this lifestyle leads to disillusionment and burnout, and it won’t attract many non-believers to Jesus.

So let’s just lay aside all of the hype and take God seriously instead of ourselves. Let yourself off the religious hook just a bit. It will remove the pressure. You’ll be more of who you really are—which is the best way to show Jesus to a hurting world.

Top Comments

Aretse Alucin

1

Aretse Alucin commented…

Hey,

Do you happen to have other verses that back up your theology behind this? And one that does not come from The Message translation?

The problem is that the segment of verse you picked does not appear in other more trusted translations like the ESV, where it says to "seek justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." The Message makes it seem as being humble means to not take oneself too seriously.

So if you have other biblical sources for this theology, please provide them. Otherwise, you could say that this is a personal opinion not based on Scripture, but your own understanding of life.

Thank you!

Tim

1

Tim commented…

Being a disciple of Christ doesn't mean having to walk like a lemon sucking Pharisee. Lighten up. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

12 Comments

Aretse Alucin

1

Aretse Alucin commented…

Hey,

Do you happen to have other verses that back up your theology behind this? And one that does not come from The Message translation?

The problem is that the segment of verse you picked does not appear in other more trusted translations like the ESV, where it says to "seek justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." The Message makes it seem as being humble means to not take oneself too seriously.

So if you have other biblical sources for this theology, please provide them. Otherwise, you could say that this is a personal opinion not based on Scripture, but your own understanding of life.

Thank you!

Derek Roberts

6

Derek Roberts replied to Aretse Alucin's comment

Do you believe that your theology is a perfect understanding of the Bible or is it not also your personal opinion? How can you say that the author's opinion is 'not' based on scripture when the ideas they wrote about are Biblical in nature and they quote scripture? On who's authority do you designate which translations of the Bible are valid and which are invalid? Will you be so kind as to provide the definitive list of acceptable and trustworthy translations? When you say that "The Message makes it seem as being humble means to not take oneself too seriously.", are you disagreeing? If so, can you provide a verse from any translation that makes it seem as if being humble means to take oneself too seriously? What statement are you making about humility and taking oneself seriously?

Consider what Christians do in order to be taken seriously by other "more devoted" Christians. Christians in high school meet to pray at the flagpole when Jesus said, "Do not pray in public like the hypocrites who only want to be seen." Christians on FB post videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge and all of their charitable donations when Jesus said, "So when you give to the needy do not announce yourself with trumpets, like the hypocrites, TO BE HONORED BY OTHERS".

Consider that these are the ways in which the "more devoted" Christians establish themselves as "more devoted":
A "good" Christian doesn't swear. In the Church this means not saying certain four letter words. In the Bible swearing means not making promises. It doesn't mean, not making promises you can't keep, it simply means, do not make promises. The way Romeo swears on the moon to Juliet and she shoots him down saying that the moon is too inconsistent. How backward is it that to be considered a good and devoted Christian, a person must not say certain words, an idea that Jesus never supported, while continuing, and placing no importance on ceasing, the act of making promises, which Jesus specifically mentions?

It's the exact kind of "You don't live up to my personal understanding" attitude you've displayed.

Louie Luepke IV

6

Louie Luepke IV replied to Derek Roberts's comment

So you both have made good points. I would agree with Aretse in saying that using the message as a source for Bible verses isn't a good idea. The message is a paraphrase and not a good one at that. The meaning of the verse mentioned is completely different in the message than other translations, and seeing that most of this article is based around the message version of this verse makes me question the entire thing. The author and Derek have many good points about our motivations for what we do. However to get all that from a mistranslated verse is a stretch. Not that I disagree but would like to see better support. We should take joy in our faith and have fun with it but also know that sometimes its hard and there is a need for seriousness in specific situations.

Tim

1

Tim commented…

Being a disciple of Christ doesn't mean having to walk like a lemon sucking Pharisee. Lighten up. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Marius Marius

4

Marius Marius replied to Tim's comment

Being serious about your walk with God does not make you a lemon sucking Pharisee, nor does it take the joy out of life.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." Then to Timothy he says "the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Was Paul a lemon sucking Pharisee? No, he was serious. Does that mean we can't have joy? Of course not, but we have to be watchful to ensure that we are in the faith, and not just some weird Christianized chillax view of the world, where we are front and center, and God is just a jacket we wear.

God does want us to be happy, but more than that he wants us to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

PS: I would appreciate that any argument you make about the Christian life to be backed up by Scripture and not what seems cool.

Alannah Tonkin

1

Alannah Tonkin commented…

Agreed!! I love how this article is written and what it stands for! Even being a christian myself I feel intimidated by this serous competitive side. Thumbs up what an awesome job

Marius Marius

4

Marius Marius replied to Alannah Tonkin's comment

You are right to feel intimidated. Being competitive is selfish. But not taking your walk with God seriously is also selfish. Everything has to be about Christ. So have fun, but honor Christ with your fun.

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