Tuesday, July 19

The Danger of Complacency

“Oh Lord, take Your plow to my fallowed ground
Let Your blade dig down to the soil of my soul
For I’ve become dry and dusty, Lord I know there must be
Richer earth lying below
For I’ve been living in Laodicea
And the fire that once burned bright, I’ve let it grow dim
And the very Word I swore that I would die for all has been forgotten
As the world’s become my friend."
Lyrics by Steve Camp
“Living in Laodicea"

Many Christians have a basic desire to live a holy life, but have come to believe they simply cannot accomplish it. They have struggled for years with particular sins or deficiencies of character. While they may not be living in gross sin, they have given up ever attaining a life of holiness and have basically settled down to a life of moral mediocrity. Complacency if you will. A life unpleasing to God and themselves.

There is so much danger is allowing ourselves to become complacent in the things of God. We begin to overlook sin, making excuses for the little "non-christian" things we are doing. Soon the sin becomes second nature to us and we no longer have any conviction about what we are doing. That complacency is soon reflected in our speech, integrity and character.

Because God is holy, He requires that we be holy. Many Christians have a "cultural holiness". They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like Himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.

When a Christian begins to develop a habit of not reading their Bible and not praying, complacency slowly wiggles its way into their life and begins to eliminate God and all that goes with Him. Sin slowly makes its way into their heart and mind. Bad choices are made. Consequences follow. Disobedience to the things of God are a definite result of complacency and lack of commitment to the things of God.

My husband and I have witnessed first hand the devastating results of complacency in the lives of Christians. We have both counseled men, women and students who were flaunting with sinful choices as a result of complacency for the Kingdom of God. The flashing red lights were all over them and we talked to them until we were blue in the face. We prayed with them and for them but unfortunately their complacent lifestyle allowed the enemy to destroy their walk with Christ. Some of them have been restored, and after severe consequences for the choices they had made, are now living a solid Christian life. Some are currently in the midst of restoration and are dealing with painful criticism and humiliation. Some have turned their backs on God completely. It is heartbreaking for me to witness people who once served Christ with passion and excitement struggle with the torment of stupid choices. The danger of complacency is so horrid.

Through our union with Christ in His death we are delivered from the dominion of sin. But even as Christians we often times find ourselves struggling to stay on the right path and avoid the temptations that daily call out to us. Paul said, "When I want to do good, evil is right there with me" (Romans 7:21). God makes it clear in Jeremiah 17: 9-10 that our hearts have been inclined toward sin from the time we were born. But we can still choose whether or not to continue in sin. Either we can yield to a specific temptation, or we can ask God to help us resist temptation when it comes knocking at our door.

In order to be all that we can possibly be for the Kingdom of God we must chase God 24/7 with perseverance. We must pursue holiness daily. Holiness is not something that just happens because we except Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Holiness is developed in our lives as we read our Bibles consistently, study God's Word consistently and pray consistently. A quick Bible verse each morning and a micro-wave prayer just doesn't cut it. We can never achieve holiness following this daily pattern in our lives.

The apostle John warns us to not sin. Basically he is telling us in 1 John 2:1 that we are to make it our aim not to sin. That seriously calls us to a deeper level of commitment with God. Can you imagine a soldier going into battle with the aim of "not getting hit very much"? The very suggestion is ridiculous. His aim is not to get hit at all! When we choose to live a complacent Christian life we are like a soldier going into battle with the aim of not getting hit very much. We are going to get hit - over and over and over again with temptation. The question is, "Can you consistently resist temptation when living a complacent life"?

Jonathan Edwards, one of the great preachers of early American history, used to make resolutions. One of these was, "Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life." That certainly places a different light on things doesn't it? Are we willing to risk it all because complacency has made residence in our Christian life?

Satan is more than willing to keep us complacent, to keep us lazy for the things of God. Being settled in complacency leaves us weak for Satan's evil, immoral attacks. It places us in a very vulnerable position which often allows us to make very poor choices leaving a negative affect on our lives for a long time.

A parable told by a Haitian pastor to illustrate to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ. A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation. He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door. After several years, the original owner wanted the house back but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So first the owner went out and found the carcass of a dead dog and hung it from the nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail. The Haitian pastor's conclusion: "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our lives, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ's habitation." Complacency is that peg! Dale A. Hays, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.

Matthew 22:37, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." You are to love God with how much of your heart - how much of your soul - how much of your mind? All of it. Every last tidbit. God does not want your complacency. He wants you to crave passion for the things of God. What if Jesus was complacent? What about your salvation? We have a Savior who loves us. He went to the cross for us with passion. He wasn't complacent about what He was supposed to do for us. Why should we be complacent about our commitment to Him?

Blessings to each of you!