Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Common Christian Complex: Comfort & Apathy

In the inaugural post for this series, I discussed the idea of holy discontentment and how not being satisfied with our personal spiritual walks is key to pursuing holiness. 

Assuming you didn't click the hyperlink above, here is the gist of what I said:

"This is the thesis: Christians should never be satisfied with their Christian walk. There is always more work to do. There are ways to be more effective, more efficient, and more pro-active. By keeping a healthy holy discontentment at the forefront of our minds, we can sustain a fire for God that keeps us disciplined and in line with God's Word."

Nevertheless, there are Christians (many Christians) who fall into the trap of unholy contentment, starting the cycle I have dubbed as The Common Christian Complex.

The next step that is usually taken after one becomes satisfied with where he is in the sanctification process is a step toward comfort. Believe it or not, it is important for us to not get comfortable with life. 

Let me clarify that: I am not saying that we should seek after discomfort or things to be upset about or pain/hunger/extraordinary trials.

What I am saying is that we should not turn into the sleepy disciples.

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:40-41

Jesus made a clear point here about our inability to stay on the right track. Our brain knows what's right, our thoughts are often perfectly clear about what we should and should not do. However, a little over a foot below our brain rests our heart, which just so happens to be "deceitful above all things and desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9). 

We have the godly answers to most of our sin issues. You know it's true. But the problem is that when we are comfortable, sleepy, not watchful, the connection between will/intellect and action/response is cut off. 

We should seek to be uncomfortable in the sense that we are aware of the real spiritual warfare happening around us. It's happening on a personal level and on a corporate level within the church. We know we should be watchful because the devil "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour," (1 Peter 5:8). 

The only way to stay uncomfortable is if we are also discontent, seeking to serve God better each day.

Naturally, those who get comfortable also get apathetic. At this point, the things that meant so much before don't carry as much weight because there's not a clear vision of spiritual matters in that person's life.

Common symptoms of apathy are a lack of interest in the Bible, prayer, theological rights and wrongs, and genuine Christian fellowship. When a Christian is apathetic, sins of omission are most likely to occur.

Sins of omission consist of not doing things that you're supposed to do. Sins of comission consist of doing things that you're not supposed to do.

So the apathetic Christian is typically not a prime candidate for outright licentious living -- yet. However, he'll not read his Bible all week and show up to church with a smile, reciting the right sentences, and pretending to be holy.

God, through Peter, gave us great insight as to what a non-apathetic Christian life looks like.

"...make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Peter 1:5-8

Of course, the only way to keep from being apathetic is to not get comfortable. And the only way to not be comfortable is to keep up holy discontentment. See a pattern yet? 

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