Spiritual Complacency Reversed

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A few years back I wrote what has become my most viewed blog post.  It is about spiritual complacency.  It pops up more often than others with the web searches people use.  This tells me that there are many who are concerned about their own spiritual complacency. And someone finally asked me, “How do we combat it?”

How do we move from spiritual complacency to a renewed spiritual fervency? Spiritual passion is more than emotion.  It is a fire that keeps drawing us back to the presence of God.  It’s the state of wanting to hear our Savior’s voice, not just so we can do something for him but because if we hear his voice he is near. Spiritual passion is like having a hunger and a sense of fulness all at once, but without that bloated feeling [smile]. But how do we get there from here?

It would be easy to say, we can’t.  We can conjure up feelings, but not true spiritual passion.  It can’t be manufactured, at least not in a way that will last.  It is a work of the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus.  So, what can we do when we find ourselves far from the oneness we were promised and hope for again? A most simple thought comes to my mind and has been haunting me the past month – “Make more of Jesus.”

Don’t make more of morality, make more of Jesus.  Any faith built on morality leads us to two ends.  One is shame.  When we fail, like Adam, we are tempted to run and hide from God. The second end comes when we begin to think we’re succeeding.  That end is self-righteousness.  Faith in Jesus isn’t based on a correct understanding of morals. It is based on a God who pours out his forgiveness freely on those who need it.  This forgiving Jesus is the one who came in person, to break into our own personal hells and invite us to new life in him.  Read John 8: and John . He is a generous forgiver.

Don’t make more of improving your life, make more of Jesus. Have you noticed that a lot of preaching today is filled with principles that we are challenged to live out under our own power to make us better Christians?  Jesus is not a principle. I don’t need more principles.  I need more of Jesus.  I find every effort at self-improvement is only covering over the old.  What I need is transformation.  Jesus is the transformer.  For sure, the words of Scripture can show me areas where God wants to work.  But that doesn’t change me. My growing love for Him and my growing understanding of His love for me does change me.

Don’t make more of heaven when you die, make more of Jesus now.  Faith secures our future, but it doesn’t diminish the present.  The present is so important that Jesus promised to be with us now!  His abundant life is now.  His eternal life is now.  We are forgiven.  We are reconciled.  We are made into a new creation – now!

Don’t make more of amassing Bible knowledge, make more of Jesus in the pages of Scripture.  The Bible’s big job is to point us to Jesus, who is God joining with His creation in the deepest and darkest places, death, and destroying the hold it has had on humanity since the beginning.  The word of God (Bible) points us to The Word (John 1:1), who then shows us in his life, death and resurrection, exactly who God is.

When I feel most at a distance from God, I find out that I have replaced Jesus as the center of my faith.  Complacency creeps in when I have stopped being amazed at him, or when I have forgotten that he is alive and present and active in my world. Make more of Jesus.  Stay with him and stare at him until you can say on your knees, with Thomas, “My Lord and My God.” Make more of Jesus by letting go of everything faith has become.
I’d love to hear your comments about whether this has spurred you Onward and Upward toward Jesus.

4 Signs of Spiritual Complacency

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Last Sunday I preached from Revelation 3:14-22. In this text we see a letter written to the church at Laodicea. It’s claim to fame, according to Christ is that they were “lukewarm.”

This lukewarmness is a spiritual condition that apparently, Jesus can’t stand. Another name for it might be “complacency.” Complacency is not contentment. Where contentment is finding joy in the blessings of walking with God, complacency has stopped walking.

In the message I shared 4 signs of complacency. I know these aren’t exhaustive, but maybe they will make each of us ask, “am I becoming complacent?”

1. Complacency comes from a higher view of self than what God determines to be true.
In other words, we think we are doing okay spiritually when in fact, we are not. We compare ourselves with others, or even with our past failures and we sense success. Instead, Scripture encourages us to compare ourselves with the holiness of Jesus.

2. Complacency is rooted in an attitude of self-sufficiency. We tend to think we can handle life and what it brings us. We trust in our own ability to understand, decide and act. We believe that constant dependence on God is either a dream or a nightmare, but not a reality we should experience.

3. Complacency is revealed when we are comfortable in the culture in which we live. A disciple of Jesus is never comfortable this side of heaven. When we align ourselves too closely with political philosophies, groups, systems, lifestyles, we stop thinking and evaluating critically and spiritually. If we are too settled, we no longer strive for the Kingdom of God and what it promises.

4. Complacency comes from spiritual satisfaction without a real spiritual awareness. We are okay with Jesus saving us. But we don’t understand life with Him. We claim the victory of forgiveness of sin, but we don’t live in constant repentance and confession. We pray for shallow tangible blessings, but not spiritual victories over the forces of darkness.

What is the danger of complacency?
1. We no longer have intimacy with Christ.
2. We are no longer part of His purposes.
3. We are no longer prepared for the future that is coming! And it is coming!

Have you been complacent?
What have you done to get out of complacency?

Here is a blog I wrote in response to our spiritual complacency. It is Spiritual Complacency Reversed.