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Friday, May 26, 2017

5-15-2017        COMPLACENCY, Our Biggest Enemy

Revelation 3:15-17      I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish that you were cold or hot.
But because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Because you say I am rich, increased with goods and don’t need anything and don’t realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.

Exactly what is complacency?  Webster’s says: self-satisfaction being totally unaware of any dangers or deficiencies.

I think that sums it up pretty good.  We have become happy, wherever we are at in our lives and don’t care to move forward any farther than where we currently are.  I’ve got a great spouse, a couple of good kids, a job that pays my bills, puts food on the table, provides transportation!  Heck! I can even take a two-week vacation every year!  What more could I want?  That IS the American dream, right?
Only problem is, because we think have ‘arrived’, we take less and less interest in what’s actually going on around us until it has an impact on our lives.  We drift more and more into our own little world, that circle of friends in our own little world and the rest of the world can take care of itself.  After all, we did.  Didn’t we?

It makes no difference whether we are living in the world or if we are church going, bible believing Christians, once we become ‘comfortable’ where we are, not caring about what’s going on around us, complacent, we become ineffective – especially for the kingdom of God!

There have been times in my life where I’ve become complacent.  I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but looking back I can see more than one time (ugh!).

When we are hungry, we can’t be complacent because we need to eat to survive so we do what we have to do to eat, feed our hunger.  We need something to eat, we find food or a place to stay or live so we search for that place so we can have shelter from the elements.  When we need to get somewhere and have no car, what do we do?  Find a car we can afford or take a bus or walk!  If we have a dream, we work like crazy (at least until) to reach it.  Nonetheless, we are not being complacent.  We aren’t just sitting back and saying “Oh, well.”  We recognize our need to get somewhere so we do something about it.  We are not complacent.  We don’t just sit around waiting for the ravens or an angel to bring us what we need or take us to where we want to be.  Think about it.  People look up into the sky and say “What is that?”  And someone says “Oh, it’s just Buck.  He had to wait for some birds to come by, pick him up and bring him here.”  I think not!

My wife and I struggled much of our life together, largely due to poor decision I had made in my youth.  By the grace of God, I started making some right decisions and the latter years of our time together in this world went a whole lot better than those earlier times.  Our needs were met and our financial budget came into balance (PTL!).  Unfortunately (for me) her health started to decline, the last few years we had together, until Father took her home to be with Him.  And yet, I thank Father for the time I did have with her.

Yet, with her departure, I was devastated!  I had lost the love of my life (in this world) but then I was in ‘perfect’ health so I had to continue on with my life.  Father has given me the ability to accept whatever happens to me, deal with it, then press on in life.  I haven’t yet figured out if this is bad or good because the danger is that ‘just accepting something’ it could lead to complacency. 

Father had already been working with me for years (my relationship with Him), so I wasn’t about to ‘give up the ship’ and sink.  Besides, I couldn’t!  HE wouldn’t let me for that’s when He started putting my life into second gear.  It’s like a car, each time you shift gears, you go a little faster.  I haven’t yet figured out how many gears this transmission has because every time I go into the next gear, there seems to always be one more waiting to be shifted up into.

I’ve just recently shifted gears again with two book Father has prompted me to purchase and as of this time am currently reading, “A Time to Advance” co-authored by Chuck Pierce and Robert & Linda Heidler and “Discovering the Supernatural” by Doug Addison.  So I’m anticipating what Father has to show me in these. 

However, I have to admit, I have been in and out of the valley of complacency.  Things would be rough and I’d work like a dog to press forward, but things would settle down – and so would I. 
The enemy (Satan) would try to discourage me and I might even start to “buy into it”, but then, the Holy Ghost comes to the rescue and reminds me of what Father has already brought me through.  And He wouldn’t have done that if he wanted me to just up and quit.  I may get confused and discouraged sometimes, but quitting is not an option (amen?)

All my life, I’ve wrestled with self-confidence, even though I’ve frequently had the encouragement “You’re a child of God!  Hang in there!”  I’ve always appreciated that encouragement, but I’ve always wondered why Father might use the likes of me.  We did a blog entry, 3/18/2017, based on a song by Elvis Presley, ‘The Wonder of You’.  Father has shown me that even secular songs can have significant spiritual implications, such as this one.  And yes, sometimes, I still wonder why He plans on using the likes of me, in spite of all my faults.  Especially as I am in a growth period and it seems like I ‘mess up’ more than I advance.  Got more growin’ to do before He can turn me loose and even though I see some of ‘what’ He has in store, I still don’t fully understand ‘how’ I’m going to get there.  The more He shows me, the more it seems I need to grow in order to be effective.  Yet, the more, then, I realize, He is growing me.

Yes, I’ve been discouraged in recent years, even after Father gave me (What He called) the ‘Watchman prophecy’ (9/2014).  Things didn’t look like they were headed in the direction that I thought they should, leading me to wonder if I had even actually heard from Father.  That may not have been complacency, but it was leading me into it, quickly.  I wasn’t getting confirmation from the sources I thought I should and I was getting ready to shut down.  That would have been complacency because even though I wouldn’t have walked away from my Lord, I would have stopped pursuing that to which I ‘knew’ He had called me.  An “Oh, well” attitude.  Know what I mean?

We get comfortable in our walk with the Lord, or maybe even discouraged, at whatever level that may be.  In the 9/16/2016 entry into the blog (Herod’s Temple, Our Walk with the Lord), I talked about how we enter into God’s kingdom (His church in this world), we enter into the “Women’s Courtyard”.  New Christians, not knowing much but ready and willing to learn about our relationship with our Creator (hopefully) and ready to move forward.  I say ‘hopefully’ under my breath because for many souls, once they’ve confessed Jesus and been baptized with water, they think they’ve arrived.  That’s all they need to receive and/or do.  They settle in and attend church (at least for a while), becoming content with their current status.  But, there is no desire to move forward with life.  Unfortunately, in this state, people become bored, disenchanted, even doubtful (of their own faith).
Now understand, Paul was ‘content’ with whatever stage of life he was in (Phil. 4:11-13).  He accepted his current conditions and didn’t complain.  BUT, that didn’t mean he never tried to change those current conditions.  Or should I say he was always hungry for more of Jesus (Phil. 1:21-23).  Paul did not live, stay, in that condition.  Staying is saying “this is what life has dealt me, oh well.”  Or “I’ve got all that I need, I’m a happy camper from now on!”  Paul was always looking and striving for a better relationship with Jesus.

Back to Herod’s temple.  Too many Christians, as I said, think that once saved, they have arrived.  There’s nothing more for them to do but to sit back and enjoy.  The five foolish virgins became complacent (Matt. 25:1-13) and letting their ‘oil’ run out, they missed out on being with the ‘Bridegroom’ (making that plainer – ‘salvation’).  Letting their oil run out meant that they were not doing what was necessary to keep their relationship (with God) alive and well.  Not continuing to pursue that relationship, they slacked off from moving forward and became complacent.  Not JUST content with their current situation, they became comfortable (and lazy) right where they were at – and it cost them, dearly (eternal life).  They knew where the bridegroom lived and when they came knockin’ on His door, Jesus said “I don’t know you.”  For them, the door was NOT opened!
Paul was content with any situation he found himself, but his eyes were always focused on a closer walk with the Lord.  The five foolish virgins were not only content with their current situation, but cared less about taking care of the relationship they had.  Had they cared, they would have bought oil long before it ran out.  But take note that in that passage, they hadn’t even realized that their lamps had gone out until the call came that the bridegroom was coming.  We don’t know the ‘hour’ of our departure from this world (Mat. 24:36), whether by trump (1 Thess. 4:16-18) or by ‘natural death.
Complacency results in death because in its midst, we don’t cultivate our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.  And we have no real excuse because Father and Son give us the Holy Ghost to help us.  He resides in us (John 16:13), guiding and directing us.  All we have to do is hear His voice and yield ourselves to the Father (Luke 11:28).

God is calling us to “always” be prepared, ready (Matt. 24:42) because we don’t know when the Lord will require our eternal presence.

Complacency is falling into a ‘comfort zone’ where we have convinced ourselves that we are “OK” and need nothing more.  The Lord tells us to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).  Seeking God’s kingdom, His relationship with us, is not a “one time” event.  It becomes like a past progressive continuum, once done, its impact is ongoing.  Like the blood of Jesus on the cross.  Jesus shed His blood on the cross once to cleanse us from our sins but the impact of that act is ongoing.  If it were a one-time event, only those who witnessed the crucifixion and physically walked with Jesus could be ‘saved’, but the impact of His shed blood has reached all the way to today and will continue on until He calls us home so that anyone and everyone who believes on the name of Jesus can enter in to His kingdom (Romans 10:9).  So, our relationship with the Father, through Jesus Christ our lord and by the power of the Holy Ghost He has given to and dwells within us, is an ongoing situation.  Not a once done deal, thank you very much, but an ongoing relationship which grows forever.  I say forever because I suspect that even though we may have ‘arrived’ when we’re with Jesus in eternity, there is still more growing experience.  Do you really think that just standing before Jesus for a moment, all of our lifelong questions will be answered?  I suspect that may take a day or five (LOL).
We also have to remember that Jesus tells us “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  Again, this is an ongoing activity.  And Jesus reminds us that He is one with the Father and He desires us to be one with Him and the Father (John 17:21).  Again this is not just a one-time event but an ongoing reality.  We overcome complacency by living for Jesus, by the power of the Holy Ghost within us, day by day, drawing closer and closer in our relationship with Him.  And as I said, I don’t think it will stop with this life.

  How does the song go?         Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be

Let’s not fall into complacency, but be overcomers through the blood of Jesus (Rev. 12:11), growing closer to our Lord, day by day!

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