Have you noticed how our Father deals with complacency in our lives? You know about complacency right; that place where you begin to let things slip because it is all too comfortable and too familiar? Often some of the first things we allow to slip relate to our relationship with Jesus. Complacency robs us of our energy and effort so that we find reasons to set aside prayer and our Bible study. We still listen to worship music but it's kind of in the background; we don't really participate with it. We simply accept things as they are, go with the flow and start making some compromises because compromise is always found on the heals of complacency.
Jesus does not like complacency because of the double-mindedness it permits to take root. He wants us 100% committed to the relationship and the mission. That's why the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of your entire being. It is the reason why our God will permit things into our lives that keep us awake, attentive and dependent on him. Our Father has eternity in mind when he allows adversities to arise. He is preparing us for eternity as he has us face these times. What is hard for us to understand is, he is more interested in our preparedness for eternity than he is in our earthly comforts, especially if those comforts become a source of complacency.
Some people consider this mean, hard and even cruel. They are looking for a blessed life, filled with good times, pleasures and whatever it takes to be happy. If God permits adversities in a person's life they consider it to be failure and rejection. It is not their measure of success. But the Scriptures say otherwise:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
That's the Father's plan, to bring us to maturity. Most of us remain immature because as we face adversities we run and hide, asking our Father to rescue us. The Word says that we should feel encouraged by trials and adversities, especially if they come to correct something in our walk in the Spirit:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (Hebrews 12:7-8)
How's that for you? Those who judge the trials of another man should perhaps look at his own life and start worrying about his lack of trials. The Scriptures tell us to stop fighting against these things and start learning. Stop crying out to be rescued and start examining the matter and learn something:
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! (Hebrews 12:9)
Hey, no one finds these things to be pleasant but sometimes they are like bad tasting medicine. It does not taste good at all going down but it has wonderful results for our body. We are suppose to have long term sight, understanding that we are a blessed people and what seems unpleasant today will have great benefits tomorrow:
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:10-11)
Honestly, what is of greater importance to you, to be spoiled and comfortable or to have a harvest of righteousness produced in you? Some people desire peace all their life and never achieve it but Scripture tells us that peace belongs to those who have been trained by the trials. So, in relation to trials the Scripture instructs us:
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. (Hebrews 12:12)
Isn't that what a dad would say? It is what I say to my children as they are learning to ride their bike. My first impulse is to protect them. If I could I would strap pillows all around them or put some kind of foam matting along their path, but it doesn't work that way. They are going to fall and there will be a bit of pain. I will examine the scrape, wipe away the tears and place them back on their bicycle. It is part of the process of learning. Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Allow the trials to make you stronger.
Many of us have been blessed by fathers who taught us some of the hard lessons in life. If we broke a neighbour's window our dad could have rescued us by dealing with the neighbour himself. He could have simply paid to have that window fixed, but there would have been no lesson for us in it. Instead, if he was like my dad, he would bring us over and stand with us as we faced the neighbour and the consequences of our actions. He would encourage us as we worked for the summer doing chores for the neighbour to pay for that window. We would all hate it but we would learn and become that much more mature, Our dad is thinking about how we will develop into adulthood, the type of character we will have.
In saying that, dad's are also protectors. Our heavenly Father would never allow us to face something that was too big for us, that we could not handle. The problem is we can handle a lot more than we think. But if the trial is too big it is like a dad looking out the window to see a bully twice his son's size picking on his son. That dad is going to be out the front door, down those stairs and across the street before the bully can even finish stating his threat. He will be in that bully's face telling him exactly what he is going to do if he ever sees him near his son again and he is going to put that bully to flight. That's our Father.
Complacency is a death sentence for those who serve the Lord and our Father is not about to allow it to get a grip on us. It is simply a matter of us understanding the correction and submitting ourselves to it. I say this with such free flowing words but some of the adversity and trials we face can seem bone crushing. Sometimes they involve tremendous loss. Sometimes they steal our breath away and threaten to devour us in fear, but that's because we look at them the wrong way and allow our flesh to lead us instead of our spirit. Our Father allows these things in order to produce righteousness and maturity in us, not fear. In fact, if we truly know him and love him we would never fear anything we face:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Our Father is doing a good thing. Trust that he loves you and submit yourself to the lessons he is teaching you. Remain sensitive to him, pray in the Spirit, and remember he is preparing you for the eternity to come. Be encouraged my friends, you are legitimate children and this is how Dad deals with our complacency.