top of page
  • Writer's pictureJack Selcher

What Is Your Faith Costing You?

Jesus on the cross

It takes considerable effort to do many things well. Malcolm Gladwell developed the 10,000-hour rule. He believes people spending 10,000 hours of intensive practice can master difficult skills like playing the violin well. He thinks outstanding achievement is directly proportional to practice time.

However, Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, believes Gladwell missed an important variable—how good the teacher is. Students with excellent teachers outperform those who have practiced longer but had inferior instruction in their chosen area of expertise.1

Repetition doesn’t necessarily perfect a skill. It can permanently ingrain inferior practice routines into the brain and muscles. For example, athletes with defective discus throwing techniques will not reach their potential, no matter how long they practice those techniques.

Considerable effort is required to excel at anything—including Christianity. There is a cost to becoming an Olympian, a skilled neurosurgeon, or a fruitful Christian.

Female gymnasts who practiced at the Karolyi ranch endured long hours of training that approached abuse.2 They paid an extraordinary price to excel on the world stage. Are we willing to pay the price to bear lasting spiritual fruit by living for Jesus who died for us (2 Corinthians 5:15)?

Many of us professing Christians have a faith that hardly changes us. It costs us practically nothing. We aren’t actively extending God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) and might be hindering it because our behavior turns others away from the faith.

Our Christianity can easily be merely a regular dip into the waters of local church tradition. We aren’t self-sacrificing followers of Jesus (Luke 9:23). When our practical demonstrations of love to an unbelieving world are few, we and our churches are more likely to offend unbelievers than win them to the Christian faith.

Mahatma Gandhi said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”3 Ouch.

Let’s consider several not-like-Jesus ways we offend unbelievers. And the price we must pay to do otherwise.4

We easily judge the beliefs and lifestyles of unbelievers. Why do we expect them to behave like Christians? They aren’t. Not yet. Let’s unplug our judging generator.

We probably have never judged anyone into following Jesus. Ever. Conviction of sin is the Holy Spirit’s job, not ours (John 16:8).  

Are we loving people toward following Jesus? I have done some of that but could do more. Love reaches hearts more effectively than judgment. But it costs us more to get involved and love than to judge from afar. What is our faith costing us?

Perhaps unintentionally, we hurt Jesus’ church through the skunk-like fumes of our hypocrisy, pride, and lack of compassion. We offend others when we pretend to be what we aren’t. That’s hypocrisy.

Jesus didn’t do that. We must sacrifice our pride to admit we don’t have it all together, stumble in many ways, and stand only by God’s undeserved favor. That’s the truth.

We offend when we act like we’re superior to unbelievers. We aren’t. We forget that God saves us by His undeserved favor (Ephesians 2:8–9). We have no excuse for pride and much need for humility.

We separate ourselves from unbelievers for fear they will negatively influence us. We forfeit any opportunity to lead them to Jesus. We stay safe, and they remain lost.

Jesus told three parables in Luke 15 to show God’s compassion for lost people. Jesus spent time with people the Pharisees considered sinful (Luke 7:39).

It costs us to spend time with people whose talk and lifestyle make us uncomfortable. It costs us to relate to them as friends and not evangelism projects. What is your faith costing you?  #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources 

See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at

God has empowered me to write His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength. It’s a free devotional, evangelism, and discipleship resource. Pastors have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead more than 2,400 people to faith in Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 4,388 people. I invite you to check it out. 

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page