The “Nike” Religion

We are beginning a series in the book of Acts at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church. And what does a pastor need, whenever he preaches a new series? New books of course! One of the books I got is a new one from Christian Focus by David Cook called Teaching Acts: Unlocking the book of Acts for the Bible Teacher. In the introduction Cook makes and interesting illustration which made me stop and think a bit. He write,

For Rome, religion was not about conviction, but superstitious ritual which did not affect everyday life at any profound level. ‘Nike’ was the religion of Rome: ‘just do it’, offer your sacrifices, go your way, live your life, don’t give the gods a second thought, for they are not concerned about you! That’s why many Romans found the Jews fascinating. Their religion affected their lives-the way they worked, rested, ate, etc.-in stark contrast to the Roman conception of religion. (p. 12).

It got me to thinking about many of our churches. Are we worshippers at the feet of the Nike altar? Are we all about just doing it? Putting in our time? How many of us do our “thing” on Sundays while allowing the rest of the week to look just like the world? Do we come to church, make our appearance, answer a question in Sunday School, sing some songs in the service, give some money, tell someone, “I’m praying for you” and be on our way? Then Monday-Saturday we hardly look any different from the rest of the world. The way we do our job, interact with our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, the way we use our money, the way we shop, the way we use our free time, etc.?

It looks like, one of the attractions that the unbelievers noticed was, what they believed changed the way they lived. I wonder if we looked less like the world today and more like the early church, if that would be an attraction to the unbelievers around us? Perhaps some of the things we need to consider is, what would it look like today if we we’re more like the early church in issues of:

  • work
  • money
  • hospitality
  • relationships
  • politics
  • entertainment
  • food

There could be many more areas to consider. But, perhaps this week, we should ponder, if I really want to make Christ attractive, I need to live like Christ has changed me from the image of the world, to the image of the Son.

How can you change how you live this week? How can you move from the “Nike” (just do it!) religion, to one that takes seriously both how you live on Sunday, and every other day.

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