“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Instant Christianity, by Randall D. Kittle


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

If I offered you a pill that was guaranteed to open your eyes to divine understanding, give you control over your weaknesses, and grant you success with all of your endeavors … would you take it? Most of us would rush to be the first in line. One of our basic vulnerabilities is an obsession with finding an effortless way to achieve our goals. We live in a day when we expect instant gratification and immediate results. We have instant messaging and instant coffee; fast food restaurants and microwave dinners we just zap and serve. The cry of our time is quick, fast, NOW!

That this penchant is a major force in our society cannot be argued. But the truly sad fact is that this American genius for getting things done quickly and easily has also infected the Church. This philosophy bypasses all of the principle of growing — which are so evident in both nature and the Word of God — with a new
“instant Christianity” that promises to deliver immediate results of maturity, power, and knowledge.

There Are No Shortcuts
Although this mindset is rampant in America, it is not something new nor found only in America. Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has been offering shortcuts to the life that God offers. Unfortunately, mankind has willingly tried them all. Satan offered Eve the opportunity to be like God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she took the short cut and experienced death. Ever since then, we have been infected with this bent toward finding a quicker and easier way.

Today, we still think we can find a shortcut to power, peace, and prosperity. But God doesn’t give shortcuts. If He were ever going to offer a shortcut, it would have been given in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus, the sinless Son of God, asked if there could be any other way besides the cross. The Father’s eternal answer to Him, and to us today, is that His way is always the way of the Cross — the way of obedience.

Information Age
One of the shortcuts of instant Christianity is the shortcut of knowledge. Our knowledge-centered society is filled with so much information we don’t know what to do with most of it. Every day as we watch the news on television or on the computer we are flooded with enormous amounts of unasked for and unneeded information that requires no response from us. This practice has affected the way we respond to God. We go to a church service, we read the Bible, we listen to CDs of messages, and in all of our gathering of spiritual information, we sit there just as passively as we do when we watch sports on television.

Almost every time I watch a sporting event on television I can’t help thinking how strange it is that thousands of people have paid good money to sit and watch a few people struggle for supremacy on the playing field. Though this is true of the world, it should never be that way in the believer’s life. Christianity is not a spectator sport! God did not call you merely to have you sit on the sidelines observing and amassing information. You are called to be truly involved and fully engaged.

If this shortcut begins to operate in our lives, we may say we want to know God, but what we really want is to gain more information … to add another keen insight to our growing list. The shortcut of knowledge results in spending time studying
about God instead of spending time with God. Jesus showed us the way to get to know God when He called His disciples. He said to them “Follow Me!” To get to know anyone involves spending time with them, and how much more so the infinite God of the universe. The way to know to God is to follow Him … to walk with Him step-by-step throughout the day. There is no shortcut!

The Main Event
Another one of the shortcuts found in instant Christianity is substituting an event for the process of walking with God. Satan wants believers to think that if they can just have that one right experience, they will suddenly be filled with the “dunamis power” of God. Like a knight on a quest to find the Holy Grail, many believers are bouncing from church to church, going from conference to conference, and attending every special meeting; hoping in vain to find the one special event that will release the power of God into their lives. It is as if they expect some experience from God to be like being touched on the head with the good fairy’s magic wand. If the lightning of God would just strike them powerfully enough, they would finally be changed — powerfully and permanently.

It is God’s will for us to operate in His power. However, no single event is going to produce this power in our lives because it is not God’s will for us to get power before we have the character to handle it — and we can’t develop character instantaneously. As God leads us through the process of walking with Him, He is developing in us the ability to handle what He wants to give us. The Bible tells us if we get wealth without possessing the character to handle it properly, the wealth will become a curse. It is the same for the power of God. If we are not walking in the ways of God, our anointing will overpower us — not empower us.

Time To Grow Up
The Scriptures tell us that although we are a new creation in Christ when we are born again, yet “we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). It takes time to mature and grow spiritual fruit. Only with time can the spiritual seed implanted in us at salvation sprout forth, blossom, and produce the fruit of the Spirit (which is the very character of Christ). We must remember that in the spiritual realm, as in the natural, there are seasons. When you plant an apple tree, it takes years before you ever get a single apple. Unless you are living in a fairy tale, you can’t plant a seed, go to bed, and awaken the next morning with apples on your tree.

While the things of the spirit may appear with the suddenness of a lightning strike, the truth is that their manifestation almost always was preceded by seasons of preparation. Like an apple tree, if we want to be fruitful in our personal lives, we, too, will need seasons of growing and maturing. We must grow in our relationship with God. We must grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. And we must grow into all aspect of Jesus Christ — growing in the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22–23 & Ephesians 5:9).

If we are to be protected from the trap of instant Christianity, we need to realize that patience is more than just a holding tank for those trying to muster enough courage and faith to move forward — it is a fruit born in our lives by the Holy Spirit. We may want instant empowerment, but God’s way is the way of patience. Hebrews 6:12 says,
“It is with faith and patience that you inherit the promise.”

Time To Work Out
A recent survey tells us some unsurprising news; the average American male wishes they were physically in better shape. This comment shows us both the desire and the difficulty. The desire is to look at least a little more like Mr. Universe. The difficulty is that the average man is merely wishing. To be in better shape physically you have to do more than wish … you have to work out. And that’s the problem, the four-letter word “work.” Most people are wishing for a “Tone-U-Up” pill they can take to receive sudden “reshaping.” But the reality is that to be in good physical condition you have to exercise.

It is the same in the kingdom of God. Not only does it take time to mature and develop the character that can contain the power of God; it takes work. To get in good spiritual shape (the kind of condition the Lord would love to pour out His power in and through), we must work out what God has worked in. After all, the Bible tells us to
“… continue to work out your salvation” (Philippians 2:12).

Let us say no to the ways of the world and yes to God’s divine plan for our lives. The Lord wants to transform our lives into His very likeness, for this is how He created us to be. If through obedience and endurance we begin to work out the principles and practice of the kingdom of God, we will ever-increasingly see our character conform to the nature of Christ. While it will take time and serious effort, it will be worth it, for all creation is longing for the sons of God to be revealed!

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