Where Is It?
There is a stalker behind every Christian.
This stalker is with you when you walk into the doors of church every Sunday, sit down with your small group during the week, and even with you when you are alone reading your Bible and praying in the calm of the morning. Who is this stalker, you ask?
Familiarity is the thing that wishes to drain you of your awe of God. You see, the reason familiarity is so dangerous is because it is invisible. You can't see it. What is even scarier is the fact that you don't know you've been subjected as prey to familiarity until it's too late.
The reality is that familiarity is around all of us and if we are not careful, we will become its prey.
What Is It?
So what is this dreaded familiarity? Familiarity by definition is a 'relaxed friendliness or intimacy'. The reason familiarity is so dreadful is because God is so awesome, and when we begin to think of Him as anything less, our Christian devotion wanes. What used to excite you about God, is now trivial. What used to move you to tears, now is dull. What once convicted your heart, now slides through your mind. The God you once loved with adoration has turned into indifference.
"The reason familiarity is so dreadful is because God is so awesome, and when we begin to think of Him as anything less, our Christian devotion wanes."
Familiarity is a terrible thing in the life of a Christian because it robs you of your awe of God. You become relaxed in your walk with Him. You don't seek after Him like you once did. You have a relaxed intimacy with God.
What Do I Do?
Maybe you are reading this and you find yourself in a position of familiarity with God. You can't seem to muster up a desire to serve Him, read about Him, pray to Him, etc. So what do you do? Three things...
1. Get Honest.
Confess to God your familiarity with Him. Confess your lack of desire to treat Him as God and to adore Him. Then, call up a Christian friend and tell them where you are at. Be honest about your familiarity with God and what you want to be different.
2. Dig In.
Familiarity doesn't happen overnight. Familiarity happens in little steps. You read your Bible as a text to be studied rather than a treasure to be adored. You pray to receive blessings than to receive grace. You serve God out of a heart to gain merit than a heart that loves Him. The way you change this is by pleading with God to change your heart. Ask Him to change you as you commit yourself to the discipline of reading His Word and praying even when you don't feel like it. Read books that help you catch a glimpse of the awesomeness of God. Commit to these things.
3. Live In Community.
Familiarity is slain when we live in real Gospel-centered community. Surround yourself with people who will daily remind you of who God is and what He has done for us in the Gospel. Have dinner with these people, invite them into your home, etc. True community is built by people who serve one another by reminding each other of the awesomeness of God.
Familiarity is knocking at the door of every Christian and the only way we can ever hope to stay away is by diving deeper into the awesome message of the Gospel. Dive deep, my friends.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.