“You can’t reach others until you get beyond yourself.”

Christian Smith, a professor at North Carolina University, wrote in his book, “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.” The de facto dominant religion of American teenagers is what he calls “moral therapeutic deism.”

According to this belief, God created and watches over the world but otherwise is called upon to solve problems. All that He requires is that people be nice to each other, fair in all you do, as taught in the Bible and most world religions. Not surprisingly, the “goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself.”

This watered-down brand of Christianity according to Albert Mohler, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is a belief held by a large percentage of all American believers. I must agree.

If it were not, explain how in the past one-hundred years, secular humanism, the religion of darkness, has gained overwhelming control of most city councils, school boards and county commissions.

This view of Christianity reduces discipleship to, “It’s all about me.” God wants me happy and prosperous, with the cost of true discipleship hardly a footnote.

Make no mistake, God does want us happy and prosperous, but for a purpose. The purpose for God’s people is reproducing disciples, faithful following learners of Christ, who possess the “gates of the enemy” in every city.

The Great Commission given to the Church in Matthew 28 is not marketing the Gospel in a way that creates followers looking for a way to clean up their life.

Discipleship is not about making mid-course corrections. It’s about doing a one-eighty and finding an entirely new way of living. Only true disciples, those whose lives are lived for the benefit of others, can change a culture.

Any other brand of Christianity only muddies the water, confuses those seeking the truth, discourages new believers and brings reproach to the cause of Christ. Unfulfilled expectations still bring life’s greatest disappointments.

Christianity without accountable discipleship is like sending a warrior to battle without the knowledge, training and equipment to defeat the enemy. According to the book of Judges, it cost Israel dearly because she did not defeat all the enemies of God as He had commanded.

The lack of true discipleship in the American Church has cost her the prevailing position of influence. You want a reason for radical discipleship? Look no farther. Christianity no longer prevails in our halls of government, our schools and most of the public square.

Disciples, not simply believers, get beyond their own personal comfort zone and live for a cause greater than themselves and one that will outlive their lifetime.