Keys to Experiencing God: Complacency or Commitment?
As I look back over the last few months and about how we need to experience God more deeply and fully, I’m bothered by what is happening in our nation, in the church, especially in the U.S., and our people and I need to ask, “Are we committed or complacent?”
I’m reminded of the first-century church of Laodicea. Jesus writes His seventh and final letter in Revelation to believers in this city. It’s my opinion that this church in Laodicea most reflects the church of the Western world today—it would be most fitting for Jesus to address the same message of this letter to much of the Western church, especially the church in America.
Laodicea was a prosperous commercial center. It had a famous medical school and was also a clothing-manufacturing center known for its black wool. It’s fair to say that Laodicea was a wealthy city whose citizens had a fiercely independent spirit. They were wealthy. They were self-sufficient. They didn’t need anybody’s help. They were fine on their own . . . or so they thought.
There’s a stark contrast between the way they saw themselves and the way Christ saw them (Revelation 3:17). They saw themselves as rich and needing nothing. Jesus saw them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They were on fire for Man’s kingdom and Jesus saw them as lukewarm for His.
Let me ask you a quick question. I am wondering: how do people get to that place of spiritual complacency instead of radical, life-changing commitment to fully experiencing God?
The Laodiceans gave us a good example. They show us that complacency comes when you see yourself as having arrived and you think you have achieved all that there is. You begin to tell yourself, “I’m rich. I’m wealthy. I don’t need anything. I’ve arrived. I’ve attained.” I think that is why Paul wrote about (Colossians 2:1–2) the Laodiceans thirty years earlier and said, “Hey, you need to attain the riches of God, not the riches of man.”
Complacency and lack of commitment also develop when we start listening to what the world says—the world tells us we have to have what everybody wants and what is supposed to bring us satisfaction. When we buy into that, then complacency, apathy, and lethargy set in. All of those “things” we’ve acquired start having their effect on us and we think, “I’ve arrived; this is what it’s about.”
Another way I believe people become spiritually lukewarm and complacent is by convincing their own hearts that the amount of Jesus they have is enough. These people say, “Well, maybe I haven’t arrived, but I’ve got enough. I never used to go to church, but now I occasionally go to church. I’m cussing way less than I used to. I don’t drink nearly as much. I haven’t kicked my dog in six weeks. I don’t want to become a Jesus fanatic—like people I’ve seen in some churches who act like they believe all this stuff.”
Here, there’s an injection of just enough religion to satisfy their spoiled spirits and they believe they don’t need anything more.
I’ve been beating this drum of concern frequently lately, and we need to keep hearing this drum beat until we wake up! Our church is in an area with four-plank fences and horses running around—is this heaven or what? The county we’re in is supposedly the tenth wealthiest county per capita in the country. Hallelujah! Has our success overcome us? Have we become rich and don’t even need God? Are we complacent or committed to the things that please Him?
I want more of God—personally and in the church. I want more of God for me, and I want more of God for you. I know there’s the temptation to think, “Hey, Berger, look how good you’ve got it. We are officially a mega church. Wow! We’ve arrived! We’ve got mega church status.”
The important question is, do we have mega life? Do we have mega Jesus? Are there mega miracles? Is there mega sanctification? Is there mega memorization of Scripture? Are people beating the doors down to get to prayer meetings, Lifegroups, and Bible studies? Until commitment can be described as mega, there is more to be had. I’m going to preach this vision and keep pushing for it and believing it can happen, despite our wealth and mega this or that.
The Laodiceans thought they had arrived. Let’s not fall into that trap, let’s seek God, fast, pray and be committed to experiencing Him and revival.