Life is a lot. It is. Inflation feels like literally “a lot.” Maintaining a budget feels like “a lot.” My schedule in conjunction with my kid's schedule feels like “a lot.” The housework I have before me feels like “a lot.” My church feels like “a lot.” My physical health feels like “a lot.” My marriage feels like “a lot.” Everything just feels like a lot. There’s a lot that just feels so demanding.
What has you feeling like “a lot” right now? What feels demanding? I have answers to those questions as I am sure you do. My physical health feels like a lot right now. My kids feel like a lot right now. What my church is facing right now, feels like a lot. Praying for One feels like a lot right now. Even the stuff I’m not doing feels like a lot right now. (How is that even possible? But it is!) When life feels like a lot, we have a lot of feelings don’t we? When someone sees what we feel is good enough as not good enough, queue feelings!
What feelings do you get when you read a passage like this?
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:14-22
We are lukewarm. Ok, I the author have to insert myself in this; “I am lukewarm.” Queue the feelings. Google defines lukewarm as “Showing little enthusiasm.” Ouch! Can you imagine Christ looking at our lives and feeling like we have little enthusiasm for Him? Like legit, did you just tinkle yourself? I did, but just a little.
This post will feel incomplete. It will leave you, God willing, desiring more. This will be a series of blog posts all running together. Today, as you read this, I just want you to consider, “Am I lukewarm?” If you are mature enough to know we all have lukewarm areas, a better question may be, “Where am I lukewarm and what am I willing to do about it?” There is complacency (another word for lukewarm) in all of our lives. What are you willing to do about it? Let me give you a few things to consider as “warning signs of complacency.” Check these signs, consider them and then give my final thoughts to prayer. Doubtful you will have all these warning signs, but likely you have some. What connects with you?
Warning Signs of Complacency
Something extreme triggered you: Times of great blessing can lead to spiritual complacency; times of great struggle can, too. In the highs and the lows, I can become dependent on myself and lack a dependency on God. “I’ll take control and will get myself out of this mess.” Or, “Look, obviously I’m doing something good, so why give God control?” Queue complacency.
So much good, so little great: I’m looking over my life and I actually see a lot of good. There is enough good in my home life, church life, and spiritual life. Sure, all areas could be better, but all areas are decent enough. What is great in your life? Is it truly great? Is there a lot of good and not a lot of great? As good enough defines most areas of life, has it begun to define you spiritually? Queue complacency.
Easily offended: If this is you, you are likely not reading this little blog anymore. I’ve already offended you and you clicked away. So for those still reading, take note that this can become you. Are you super emotionally offended when someone questions an underperforming area in your life? One of those “good enough” areas? Do you instantly get defensive? Defensive people are offended people. Why is that? Queue complacency.
Handicapped by spiritual senses: Again, if you are still reading, this is not you. But consider that this can become any of us! We can turn our spiritual eyes and ears off leaving us spiritually handicapped. We don’t care to give a look deep within to grow towards something greater. We don’t care to listen to those who, in love, care to see us grow towards better. We may not like admitting it, but we’ve become spiritually handicapped. Queue complacency.
Overwhelmed or underwhelmed: Little is challenging me, and I don’t care to be challenged. Or everything is challenging me, and I wish less would. In either extreme, we can lose sight of our spiritual selves as we slowly become spiritually complacent. Queue complacency.
It’s good for you: You sit in church thinking whatever is being said is good for someone else. Praying for one is good for someone else. Giving to the church is good for someone else. Investing into a spiritual life is good for someone else. These are good things for my kids or my spouse, but me? I’m good. Pursuing the mission of the church? It’s good for you but don’t expect me to join in. Why is it good for others but not good for you? Queue complacency.
You confuse contentment with complacency: So many Christian’s I know right now would use the word “content.” There is holy contentment: finding Christ to be enough. There is also a holy discontentment where we strive for more of God and His kingdom. There is a great article on the thin line between contentment and complacency. Check it out.
These are just warning signs. They may or not be true of you. And they may or may not be signs of complacency. Just because you have had extreme highs and lows doesn’t mean you are complacent. Just because someone came at you for being “good enough” in a given area does not mean you are complacent. The point of a warning sign is to simply be aware that it could!
We all have lukewarm and complacent areas of life. The mature are willing to admit it and grow. The immature ignore it and are simply ok with complacency. So, if you are triggered or all hot and bothered, good! Lean in! Consider, wrestle, and grow. Learn to be fully dependent on God in the areas of complacency. Dependency kills complacency.
Next week I want to talk more about what a sober-self assessment looks like. We will take a deep dive into a personal reflection on our lives after considering these warning signs. So in the meantime, here are just three questions to consider as we close out:
- How did I get here?
- Where I feel a level of complacency, what would it look like to return to my first love in that area?
- What would it look like to be fully dependent on God in the areas of my greatest complacencies?
More to come next week, we are on a journey together. It’s time to lean in, so let’s lean in together!