The Long Road to the Middle

Francis Chan vents about the rise of the evangelical “middle road:”

Every notice Chan’s ability to make you laugh while he’s smacking you upside the head? It’s pretty amazing stuff.

Anyway, his point is well taken. Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 7:13-14 NIV). Yet, somehow we’ve gotten this idea into our heads that we can read the Bible, but not do what it says.

As Chan puts it in the video clip, “When we play Simon says, the leader says ‘flap your wings,’ and you flap your wings. But follow Jesus is a totally different game. When Jesus tells you to flap your wings, you can just sit there and ‘do it in your heart.'”

I wonder if the confusion, and the creation of the evangelical middle road, can be chalked up to one thing:


We’re afraid that if we’re serious about following Christ, we’re going to have to do something hard. That will make us uncomfortable.

I’ve talked about this topic at a few times (most recently here and here), but it’s continues to be a nagging question:

Am I more comfortable pursuing mediocrity than Christ?

If I am, then I’m building my life on a lie, thinking about considering following Christ instead of doing it. Honestly, it’s easy to get into this trap, especially for those of us who lean Reformed in our doctrine. We want to be mindful of a works-based mindset coming into play in our lives.

And I think this can be a wise & valid concern. It’s far too easy for us as broken, sinful creatures to place our faith in our deeds rather than the God who redeems us.

But if it prevents us from being obedient, from doing what Christ says, then perhaps we need to check our hearts.

At the very least I do.

A couple of questions for us to consider as we go about our day:

  1. What do I think Christ is calling me to do?
  2. What would I have to give up to obey?

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matt 7:24-27)

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

Reader interactions

3 Replies to “The Long Road to the Middle”

  1. Wow! God is teaching me a new lesson.

    It started when my wife told me she didn’t enjoy our LifeGroup study. Why? No application. “All we do is study God’s Word – but we don’t do anything about it.”

    Orthodoxy is a good thing, but it is not an end in itself. God doesn’t want us to simply know ‘things’ – He wants us to do His will.

    God, this is a scary idea – remove my fear – make me a doer, not just a hearer.

    1. It’s a hard lesson and one I consistently fail at. But for those fifteen minutes of the year where I’ve got it, it’s a wonderful thing.

  2. Great video. I will miss listening to him preach.

Comments are closed.