I often find myself in brief moments of silence reflecting. I reflect upon my life 20 years ago. I reflect on my life 10 years ago. I am always thinking about my wife and my children. What a blessing from God to even be able to have a wife and children. In all actuality, I don’t even deserve them. I’ll never forget the Sunday morning that Bishop Getties L. Jackson included that in his sermon concerning men not truly deserving the blessing of having a wife and children. We’re not deserving of any blessings. But thank God that He saw fit for me to be called husband and father. Both those titles bring lots of responsibility.
Do you remember your life before you accepted Christ as your personal savior? I do. And no matter how much I try not to remember, there are always reminders standing by just waiting for the perfect opportunity to take me back. So to combat these thoughts of allowing my past to tell me who I was, I have to remind my past of just who I am. I have to admit that I haven’t always been strong enough to do this. I was always trying to fight the flesh with the flesh. As I’ve learned from some very wise Christians, I must fight the flesh with the spirit. This is the only way I can win.
When I recommitted myself to Christ, I grew complacent with just being saved because I knew that God’s grace and mercy would allow me to come back even if I sat down and had a drink with my past. I would occasionally find myself rubbing elbows with different aspects of my past and enjoying it too, nonetheless. Then I thought to myself, “What if, just what if God didn’t grant me any more grace and withdrew his mercy?” Well, I wasn’t going to let my past help me find out. Regardless of how brave I am, there comes a time when running is the best option.
I had a conversation with Bishop Jackson one evening at the church. We were on the subject of complacency. He explained to me that at some point in our lives, even in our Christian lives, we become satisfied. We don’t want any more or any less of anything. Complacency has the potential to become dangerous as a Christian because being saved isn’t always enough. And as he put that thought in my psyche, I started thinking, “Really!” “ What more am I to do after I’m saved?” The Bishop must have seen that thought roll across my forehead like a marquee. He then did as he always does when explaining facts of life. He put some Bible on it. Allow me to take you where he took me.
He gave me part of the verse of Amos 6:1. “Woe to them who are at ease in Zion”. I knew the meaning of “woe”. I wanted to read more about “them” and how they came to be at ease. I discovered that the people of Israel had become complacent with lavish lifestyles and parties and drinking. There were parts of their lives that seemed to be more about their status than about God. Yes, they went to church and had church as usual. The poor stayed poor and the rich, well, they stayed rich. Their lives were at ease and all was well with them.
Suppose that if now, even as I’m saved, that’s just it for me. I’m going to say my prayers every night and every morning. I’m going to go to church on Sunday morning with other saved folk and have a joyous fellowship for two or three hours. Then I will go home and catch the Carolina Panthers, wait on my wife to finish cooking, sit down with my family and say our grace. We will eat, drink and be merry. Is that all there is to being a Christian? Whose example am I following? Is this the way Jesus wants His work carried out?
Well, that brings me to a saying where the WWJD adorned many rubber bracelets, “What would Jesus do?” I can answer that by recognizing what Jesus did. He didn’t come into the world to save me or you. We are already saved. He came into the world to save the very people you and I, whether consciously or unconsciously, separate ourselves from; sinners. He came to save murderers, rapists, adulterers, and fornicators. He came to save all of those that were in a life of sin so that they could live a life of righteousness. Some of us aren’t too far removed from the sin that reined supreme in our lives at one time.
I think I live a pretty good life. I’m still working on becoming righteous. I’m chasing after the kind of righteousness of sharing the salvation that resides inside me with someone who isn’t saved and leading them to Christ? While I love to be in the company of my fellow Christians at a dinner table, couldn’t I do like Jesus did and sit at the table with sinners and dine? Just as the Pharisees didn’t understand what Jesus was doing, I’m sure some wouldn’t understand my behavior either. The Pharisees separated themselves from sinners. They wanted nothing to do with them. I can imagine how the sinners felt when the very people who are righteous made them feel like outsiders. One person that invited me to come to church didn’t treat me as an outsider, although I was. They didn’t preach to me about how wrong my sin was. I knew that already. What I needed was someone who could teach me how to stop by being an example.
I came to realize after my conversation with Bishop Jackson that replacing complacency is a must with all Christians. I can talk to saved people all day about Jesus because we are comfortable and familiar with His glory. Can I find that same comfort when talking with a sinner? Gillis Triplet once said, “Of all the possible avenues of life there are to live for, complacency should be viewed as the switch that killed the will to build.” Gillis, you hit the nail on the head. The way I see it, replacing complacency with the will of God enables us all to edify His kingdom and one another.