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Fighting Complacency

August 24, 2009

If you’ve followed my blog for a little while, you know that I’m going through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The last few chapters I’ve read have dealt with the lukewarm Christian and what God says about Christians who are lukewarm in their faith. I couldn’t believe some of the verses that Francis pointed out. They were convicting to say the least.

They have led me to search my heart deeper and to ask: Do I have lukewarm tendencies? Am I living in mediocrity anywhere or struggling with complacency? Do I sometimes take Jesus’ words half-hearted or even say “I’ll do that another day…”

In my relationship with Christ, just like in any marriage, I have to constantly fight against complacency. It’s so easy after the honeymoon stage, to just settle in and be comfortable. In following Christ, it’s easy to kick back, go on with the day, and lose sight of who He is. And then the relationship turns to legalistic rules and rituals (duty) instead of a wholehearted desire and delight to know and love Christ for who he is.

I don’t think Jeremiah would ever want me to respect and love him out of duty. He would never force me to love him either. So it is with God’s love. He wants me to choose to love him. And to me, this requires battling my laziness and complacent heart that I have at times.

This past weekend, we didn’t stay in our apartment but we went down to my Dad’s (he has a corporate apartment in our complex) and we just enjoyed the setting down there. We watched the Dallas Cowboys, cooked, talked, and had friends over for dinner. It was so relaxing and refreshing. Our relationship felt renewed.

Some things I’ve been doing lately in my relationship with Christ to revitalize it and stir up the passion is listening to podcasts of some really great pastors, praying on my way to work, going through old journal entries, starting a Bible study with some friends, reading blogs, and most of all revisiting God’s word- reading and meditating on it.

I’m so glad that God doesn’t leave us where we’re at. He is so patient and when we truly desire change (and we seek it), he will give it to us in the smallest ways… even if it’s just a different place to spend the night!

Question: What has helped you in times of feeling “stuck”? How are you currently fighting the war of mediocrity?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim Lumpkin permalink
    August 27, 2009 1:42 pm

    Being a part of true community has been an incredible source of encouragement and defense against complacency. Some of the women in my community group have sent each other a list of things we need accountability with; things from exercising more to memorizing scripture to honoring our husbands more consistantly. We recently sent each other the lists and plan to check w/ each other every two weeks on how we’re doing.

  2. August 27, 2009 1:45 pm

    I love that action plan Kim. And I love how you mention that community has been a defense against complacency. We definitely cannot do it without others in our life to encourage us on in our faith and living that faith out. Thanks for the great insight!

  3. August 29, 2009 8:27 pm

    God does speak to us in so many ways. More than we could recognize, really.

    A few days ago I woke up having had a dream. In the dream I began talking about how it is so much easier to know what God desires when we spend time in His word. The interesting part of the dream is that I referenced a time in my life when I was much more in the Word and in prayer. And compared it to where I am now in that it is harder for me to really know what God desires of me. It truly was for me a wake up call.

    He desires to share His heart with me. It’s amazing!

  4. September 9, 2009 1:42 am

    A little late to the game here, but this hit me between the eyes. I had been drifting these past few weeks – didn’t even notice it – made an idol of my quiet time, fell into legalism with it. Not good. The change up? Jumping into The Bible in 90 Days, with our whole church participating, reading carefully to hear what God is telling me each day.

  5. September 9, 2009 7:50 pm

    You’re never too late in the game! Thanks for being honest Andy. It’s crazy all the things we can make idols of. I am beginning to wonder, is it a bad thing to make a quiet time an idol? And then of course I know the answer is yes 🙂 When we do it out of duty, and not to delight and enjoy our Savior- then that can get ugly and ritualistic without the relationship. I am interested in the Bible in 90 days that you’re church is doing. Can you explain?

    • September 16, 2009 1:51 am

      There’s a special large-print NIV Bible that’s actually called “The Bible in 90 Days” – reading it in 12 page chunks, you can read through the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, in 90 days. We started on September 7, and the majority of our congregation is reading through it – some together, some on their own, but in most cases, folks are getting together to discuss the readings, and there’s a gentle accountability (positive peer pressure?) to prod each of us along in our reading.

      What’s cool is that a sizable chunk of our congregation has NEVER read through the whole Bible, so this 90 day exercise is a GREAT way to get folks to read and engage with the Word. It also allows us to see the arc of God’s Story unfold from beginning to end, and the realization that each of us has a role in The Story.

      For me, this is the 2nd time that I’ve done this in 90 days, but it’s a lot more fun doing it with my wife and my fellow brothers and sisters. (Plus my kids are doing a special kids track that takes them through good chunks of major stories in the Bible!)

  6. September 15, 2009 1:44 pm

    Hey Samantha! Some thoughts about your blog entry (btw this is a great blog site! I enjoyed checking out the different entries) from a fellow disciple. I think we have to be very careful that we don’t make fighting complacency and the fight against mediocrity into a list of do’s and don’ts. Satan doesn’t mind that we spend a lot of time trying really hard to be better versions of ourselves, because it still keeps the focus on me and away from Christ. I saw a guy at church with a tattoo where it said “I am trying to believe” and though I knew what he probably meant by it, it made me sad as well. Trying is not the way to fight mediocrity and lack of faith. Trusting and resting in Christ is. The best way to fight mediocrity is to get to know Christ and yourself better – the more you get to know Christ the more you get to know the real you and vice versa. When we come to places of accepting and embracing ourselves in light of our weaknesses (the way God does already), we don’t want to be complacent, mediocre or lukewarm. We want to be who we already are: living fruit on the living vine of Christ. So for me the best place to start when mediocrity, laziness and complacency pokes its ugly face out is to accept the fact that in my own strength I’m powerless against those forces. Instead I am learning to surrender to Christ and trust him to remind me of who I really am (the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our righteousness!), and when he does that I see that I really want to do what he wants me to do, and I want to be who he wants me to be – his deepest desires are mine (Ezekiel 36:26-36), and I can rest in him and trust him to bring forth more life. And he does. He is always faithful to continue and complete his work in us when we rest in him and stop striving and messing up what he is doing! 🙂 This ended as a small sermon…I apologize for that, but I do care deeply about these truths 🙂 Blessings, Torben

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