Have you ever heard the term “basic?” Basic is a term used by younger generations that describes a person who is only interested in things mainstream, popular or trendy. Some even say a “basic” person is devoid of any original or interesting characteristic.
Some use the term as an insult, while others embrace what makes them basic.
One thing that I particularly enjoy that would fall under the category of “basic” is a pumpkin spice latte. I don’t mind who likes or dislikes this popular autumn drink; I’ll embrace the basic trait if it means I can treat myself to one every now and then.
Does your IQ feel lower yet? Bear with me…
Are you a basic Christian? What does that mean? I will define a basic Christian as one who does what everyone else is doing. One who goes with the flow, rather than standing up for something in fear that it will reciprocate negative attention?
Do you spend more time setting up your Bible study space to take a picture of your time with God, rather than spending more time with Him? Have you listened to all the latest podcasts but forgotten how to share your faith with an unbeliever?
Do you say that you are a Christian, which means “Like Christ,” but persecute your fellow man for sinning, looking different than you do or being hard to love?
It can make you feel really good to say all of the right things, the most intelligent things, the biggest words even in a prayer around your friends, family and others in the church, but what do they mean?
These are just some trends in the church that, if practiced, can be slippery slopes to becoming a basic Christian, the kind of Christian that gives Christ followers a bad name.
Things like listening to podcasts aren’t bad, hear me there. What I am saying is that empty practices without applying them to your life are no better, if not worse, than doing nothing at all.
Here in the Bible Belt, where “loving” Jesus is trendy, it might be hard to not get caught up in doing “all the right things” without pure motives, but only if we choose to look the other way. If we address trendy Christians, or basic Christian practices, in our own lives and challenge them with action, we become a part of the solution.
Ways to improve include reading your Bible in context. That feeling when you find a Bible verse that perfectly suits the situation you find yourself in is something to be valued. However, sometimes because of this, the Bible and its content gets twisted past the point of no recognition. Instead, if you find a verse in Scripture that you find applicable, read the chapter it is in, see if means what you think it does. Once you spend time in the Word, you’ll find there is a Scripture for all situations life throws your way.
Another way to avoid being a basic Christian is to love like He first loved us. It can be hard to love people sometimes. There’s that person at school who seems to know exactly what it is that makes you tick, and does it often. That busybody who spreads hate like wildfire can be difficult to extend grace towards — the list can go on. But God. God loves with no conditions. He extends grace with no conditions. He saw past our imperfections and chose us, all of us. Not just certain people of a certain race, not just Americans, but all of mankind. Be like Him.
These are just a few things that I see regularly in and around my life as a 20-something Christian in the Bible Belt. The things you do that stand the way of a God-honoring life and Christ-like faith may be completely different. Pray that the Lord reveals these areas in your life and then fervently seek to change. Don’t just go with the flow. Don’t just do the cool Christian thing. Do what is hard and what stretches you in your walk with Christ, and you’ll be anything but a basic Christian.