Christianity - "Light" (not too strong, not too weak?)
Christianity-"My friends are all Christians, I better get with the program"
Christianity- "Get a girl(or boy)friend"
Christianity- "Social Connection"
Christianity-"Expand my business network"
Christianity-"Just enough religion to get me through, but not so much as to intrude on my life too much"
Christianity-"Get a big name as a speaker"
Christianity-"Create my own spiritual dynasty in some ministry I founded"
Christianity-"If I go to church maybe God will make me, or my family member well again"
I observe that these and other reasons seem to characterize many who call themselves 'believers'. But seldom to we find plain simple honest Christians who have come to faith out of a sense of desperate need for renewal and redemption from their natural state.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that I have particular people, or Churches in mind when I made that list which is nowhere near complete. Every permutation of human motivation will enter the picture when it comes to 'why' people come together in a Church situation.
It seems to me also, that when you come to Christ for the right reasons of repentance and faith, that all of the above 'can' but not necessarily will, be, possible consequences of that foundational decision. If we come to Christ for the reasons he calls us, then all of the polluted motivations above will be purified and placed in proper perspective, because they will not be the primary reason that we made the decision to commit to the Savior. I'd go so far as to say we should be continually on guard to supress such motivations from our consciousness to avoid them raising up their carnal heads and dragging us down into the quicksand of selfish ambition.
Yes, I can think of many 'verses' which relate to this, but I won't flood this post with them, you can find them yourselves just by reading the scriptures, especially the Gospels and Epistles. After all, the early Churches had many problems, some of which defy description, especially the Church at Corinth. Have a browse of Pauls first letter to them in chapter 5 "a man is sleeping with his fathers wife".... oh crikey!!! this reminds me of the former Prime minister of Australia "Sir"...Billy Sneddon who died of a heart attack while have intercourse with the ex girlfriend of his own son! Not an exact analog, but close enough for discomfort.
We find in the Lord Jesus many 'I am' statements, and we can treat these in a very logical fashion.. using the old Basic computer language construct "If....then" and work out that if Christ really is those many things (The resurrection and the life, the Way, the Truth, the Good Shepherd, the true vine etc) 'then'.....how should we conduct ourselves? Then there are many other clear commands, and his final exhortation "Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you" (Matt 28:19ff)
Paul sums up the position of the believer so well in his letter to the Ephesian Christians with:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.....
What does this mean for us? Paul continues....
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
but wait....there's more I call it the 'mountain top':
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph 3)
Now...there is something about 'mountain top experiences'... they are not meant for us to just sit there enjoying the view. Such exhilaration should lead to something.. Martin Luther King Jr once said..
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!The next morning, he was assassinated.
Paul once said "For me to live, is Christ, to die is gain"