Of Christianity & Vanilla Ice Cream
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Christianity and vanilla ice cream have quite a bit in common. Both are good bases for other flavours and toppings, but at their core there's a very simple list of ingredients. That also means that you can hide poor quality with a mound of toppings and flavours; but that doesn't stand well against critique and examination. Vanilla ice cream can come in multiple forms. You have the standard supermarket ice cream, which is very fake vanilla. Then there is better vanilla ice cream that uses vanilla essence and has a less artificial taste. One level higher, there is vanilla bean ice cream, which gets its flavour right from the source and has an exquisite and refined taste. It's so different that you could categorise vanilla bean ice cream and vanilla ice cream separately. At the final level, you have vanilla gelato, where all the extra stuff has been pressed out to reveal a rich and intense flavour. It's something that people who are uncomfortable or not fans of vanilla will reel back from.
Christianity can be similar. There's a very fake version of Christianity that is composed of artificial sentiments and simply going to church but not living out Christianity. You are a Christian in name only, not in any of your ways. There's a better version of Christianity, which is based on what you've read and take from others. It's concentrated and in a form that is easily accessible. You don't really need to work too much for it and it produces a good enough representation. Then there is true Christianity, which takes from the source and puts in the time and effort to extract true understanding from God. Finally, there is a form of Christianity that is so pure and unadulterated that some non-Christians may find abhorrent.
The thing is we aren't just enjoying this Christianity for ourselves, in the same way that manufacturers don't eat all their own ice cream. We present Christianity to others, whether other Christians or non-Christians. What they consume is of our making. And their understanding of how Christianity is like depends heavily on how we make it out to be. If our Christianity is fake, all non-Christians will see is a faux representation of what God is like. If our Christianity is true, then they can make a proper decision on whether they really want to buy into this faith or not.
Truth is, Christianity isn't for everyone. Jesus remarks that the gate to heaven is narrow. It's riddled with sacrifices, commitments and difficult terrain that aren't for the faint of heart. But at the same time, its destination is truly rewarding, beyond any cons that traversing the path can offer. Many will not want to continue on the path because it's not an easy one to walk; and that's completely understandable. BUT, as Christians we have a duty to make sure that we present the true version so that people can make an educated decision. Unlike vanilla ice cream, where people can choose to like vanilla or vanilla bean or any other form or quality of ice cream, there's only one real way to ‘enjoy’ Christianity. That is to believe and live out true Christianity that is deep and constantly gleaning from God and His Word. There is no market in heaven for half-hearted Christianity. In Revelation 3:16, God himself states that the lukewarm will be spit out.
It's not an easy thing to hear, but as Christians we need to make sure that what we represent is something that others can take away from. Today, what is the quality of your Christianity?
Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections.