Sacred Space: Hardcore Christian

If I told you that I knew a fellow who was a “hardcore” Christian, I wonder what sort of image that would conjure up in your mind? Would you think that this individual was particularly zealous for evangelistic enterprises? Perhaps that he was in the ministry “full-time”.  Maybe you would think that he was a missionary on a foreign field, or that he fasted regularly and prayed for hours at a time.

What if I told you that my hardcore Christian friend was an electrician who has been married for twelve years, is in the process of raising three children, and that the most impressive thing about his Christian faith after his genuine affection for Christ  is that he loves his wife, laughs with his children, and enjoys taking them to local football games? This hardcore Christian likes to watch television with his kids. They take vacations together, and they have a genuine affection for one another. This friend of mine is an anchor to his family. He is a faithful to his wife; he is diligent at his job; he encourages and reproves his children with love and wisdom.

I’m afraid that we do not see this type of thing as hardcore Christianity.  I admit it; I am not who I ought to be, and neither are you. But my biggest worry is not that I am not giving enough money to missions, or telling enough people about Jesus, or being a good enough pastor at church. I am convinced that constantly worrying about not being ‘hardcore’ enough in that way is a perfect way to be a lousy Christian. Becoming a Christian should not be the first step towards being miserable that you are a lousy Christian. It ought to be the first step towards actually enjoying life.

The Bible presents many truths that are simply devastating. All men are corrupt; people are dying and going to hell; we have an obligation to take the gospel to people who will perish without it. It is only natural, then, to wonder how it is that we can allow ourselves to enjoy things like television, video games, and detective novels without feeling like we are callous individuals. It furthers stirs our conscience to agony when our favorite preachers lambast us for “Entertaining Ourselves to Death.” We deserve it sometimes, but I confess that I don’t want to be John Piper. I want to be like my friend the electrician.

I know that my friends could find a better pastor, and I know I could be a better evangelist. But when I go home tonight, I go home to a little boy and a little girl who only have one dad. My wife has only one husband. This is where I have to make it count. My kids don’t understand my burdens and my failures, but they understand my smile and my hug. And for my smile and my hug to be genuine, I rejoice in this: I have been saved by grace through faith; Jesus requires nothing of me, and nothing delights him more than my deepest affections for Him and for my little family. I show Jesus my gratitude by loving my family, hardcore, and so I watch TV with them, and play games with them, and pray with them, and enjoy life with them. Think about doing these things before you sell your house to help missionaries in Trinidad.

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  • Carol

    I’ve learnt recently that being a Christian is loving like Jesus loves us. I’ve learnt that thru the Holy Spirit and because of the cleansing blood of Christ, we are capable of doing that now. Sin no longer has power over me to bend me to its will. I’ve learnt that moment by moment, I can now choose Christ instead of sin. Being a Christian has never seemed so straight forward and never seemed so difficult. But God’s grace abounds every time I’m tempted to not love like He loves us.

  • Cathy Dixon

    I loved this. Thanks for sharing. Cathy

  • Adam

    Hi Brad,

    Great post. I’ve found that theology has a lot to do with it. I am a sinner saved by grace. Emphasising choice over Grace makes us makes us very responsible for our actions, but our successes and inevitable failures make us proud and then miserable – perhaps we can choose well enough to be ‘hardcore’ for a while. I did. But the hardcore public display makes the unconquerable private failures more depressing.

    Emphasising Grace makes Christ responsible for sanctifying us; my successes are because God is good, failures because I am not; but trying harder wont help. Trusting God to complete the work he started is my only option.

    Perhaps we do need to be hardcore, merely hardcore in Christ’s eyes, not John Piper or the congregations and certainly not in our own. Like you inferred, Christ’s view of hardcore is very different than our own.



  • Good call to faithfulness, Brad. As a husband, and father of two, I appreciate this affirmation of our high calling.