Wednesday, August 26, 2009

indecision- the enemy of spiritual growth

i must confess that my nature is to procrastinate. in high school i consistently put off my homework until the last minute. in college i would wait all semester to work on the big research paper and do it the night before. i usually waited until the last minute to pack for a trip or wake up in the morning. while i do not by any means recommend this method, i continued to do it because it worked for me. i never missed an appointment and rarely forgot anything i needed to pack. i still got good grades on my work and didn't waste valuable video game time on homework until i absolutely had to. so, no real harm was done.

however, there is an area where procrastinating leads to death. i know that sounds extreme, but it is true. it is such a temptation to become stagnant and inactive in my faith. with the promise of grace on the table, often times there is little motivation to put in a full effort in changing my bad habits or thoughts. if God loves me no matter what, He won't care if i don't get up early to read my bible, right? if He can look past the sins of people in the bible who did WAY worse things than me, why should i try to fix the problems i have? this line of reasoning leads to spiritual death. it leads to a heart losing its ability to smell the sickening stench of its own sinfulness. it leads away from God and right into the clutches of satan. i cannot afford any longer to put off the changes i need to make in my spiritual life.

while i was thinking about all of this, i stumbled upon this quote today from provocations by soren kierkegaard-

'cowardice settles deep in our souls like the idle mists on stagnant waters. from it arise unhealthy vapors and deceiving
phantoms. the thing that cowardice fears most is decision; for decision always scatters the mists, at least for a moment. cowardice thus hides behind the thought it likes best of all: the crutch of time. cowardice and time always find a reason for not
hurrying, for saying, “not today, but tomorrow”, whereas God in heaven and the eternal say: “do it today. now is the day of
salvation.” the eternal refrain of decision is: “today, today.” but cowardice holds back, holds us up. If only cowardice would ap-
pear in all its baseness, one could recognize it for what it is and fight it immediately.'

we have become cowards- we lack the desire or the fortitude to change for the better. not to pass the buck, but it is my belief that a contributing factor to this problem is the teaching of the church today. now when i say church, i don't mean the one i work for, or churches of Christ or restoration movement churches. i mean the church as we know it in western civilization. we live in a culture saturated with sin, and have ourselves become infatuated with sin. instead of avoiding what we consider slightly sinful, we are too quick to embrace the ways of the world. our hatred and disgust for the sins in our lives has been diluted. the call of our loving Savior's voice has been muted by the call of a more interesting and more easily accessible lover- the darkness and intrigue of the world. so in the end, the average churchgoer doesn't look all that much different than people of the world- we still gossip, visit questionable websites, have judgmental hearts, speak words without love, cheat on our spouses physically and mentally, treat our kids poorly, etc. we just have a different way to spend our sunday mornings and wednesday nights. we have become dangerously passive and inactive when it comes to avoiding sin and embracing holiness.

i know, i know. my words sound harsh and critical. maybe overly critical. the call of discipleship i am laying out for all of us seems to go a little overboard, doesn't it? but the vital question we must ask in this- do those words seem harsh in comparison to the teaching we hear from our church or compared to what Jesus calls us to? in my opinion, we have gotten away from the extreme side of christianity. we have allowed it to become a passive part of our lives, not something that actively drives every thought, word, action and decision. we don't share our faith in God because it may offend. we don't live too radically because it may look odd to the people around us. christianity has become an activity, not a way of life. church has become a way to punch our 'get out of hell free' card, not a place to come and encourage the followers to remain faithful. but God did not send Christ to start a social club that happens to believe in Him. Christ did not lead 12 men around teaching them the right programs to start, the correct marketing schemes to launch to get big attendance numbers or the right songs to sing in worship service. Christ came to the earth and asked for people to follow Him. that is what we as a church must teach and embrace. so, faced with the decision to follow Him or to be indecisive and continue to err on the side of apathy, which will we choose? i think it's time to stop procrastinating and embrace a life of discipleship.