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Fight the Phantom: Live Out Your Unique Calling

The concept of “The Phantom Christian” came fully alive for me after reading Classic Christianity by Bob George. Identifying the Phantom has been a huge part of my journey with Christ.

The Phantom Christian is far more organized than I am.

The Phantom Christian has an early-morning, highly-structured quiet time.

The Phantom Christian tweets more Bible verses than I do.

The Phantom Christian says no to temptation every time.

He shares his faith far more than I do, makes tons of disciples (many by accident on an airplane), and never loses his temper.

The Phantom Christian remembers every point to every sermon, even when the main points do NOT start with the same letter or form an amazing acronym.

The Phantom Christian would rather play Barbies with his daughters than watch the Super Bowl.

He never responds to accusatory comments with strong words of truth.

The Phantom Christian sees the future, creates a plan to get there, and arrives with a smile. The journey is always clear and discernable for him.

The Phantom Christian always has a new and fresh creative idea and has figured out a way to give birth to those ideas only within his 9-5 job.

I’m writing today about the Phantom Christian because I’m not him. Posting the specifics of his personality actually helped me realize how much I’ve believed the lie that he exists and that God is disappointed in me because I don’t look and taste and smell like the Phantom.

There is such a vast and rich diversity for those who follow Jesus. Our responses to the life of Christ can and should be various and far-reaching.

Honestly, there is NOT much diversity in the Gospel message. God, in Christ, lived, died, rose again, and appeared to a bunch of people. To skirt around any of those specifics is to miss any Good News promised in Christ. There’s only one place in the New Testament where the Gospel is actually DEFINED, and that’s non-negotiable for any Christ-follower.

But once we receive that Gospel – once we surrender our hearts to the Jesus embedded in that Gospel – we begin a life of faith that’s meant to look and smell and taste differently.

Differently than others around you.

Differently than the expectations touted by mainline conservatives.

Differently than the expectations touted by well-established liberals.

Differently than Rob Bell or John Piper or John McArthur or Andy Stanley or Billy Graham or Donald Miller.

So may we embrace the unique and beautiful sermon our lives are speaking. May we hold fast to the truth of Scripture without abandoning the fact that God made us ALL unique. May Jesus become an anchor for our souls, while fully embracing that all ships are different.

And may we learn how to take the Phantom Christian out back to the woodshed and put a bullet in his head.

Have you ever considered the fact that we all have a Phantom Christian in our lives? What are his/her characteristics for you?  

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Gary has been married to Angela for 22 years, and is the father of three daughters. He served as a pastor for seventeen years, and has a Masters Degree in Creative Arts. He is the author of "Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.", and is the co-owner of Floodgate Productions, and the Founder and President of the Floodgate Foundation.