Published Saturday, January 05, 2013

Familiarity: 2013's greatest danger

By DANIEL AUSBUN

Moreland Baptist Church

2013 has arrived.

Another year. New resolutions. New plans. New goals. New hopes.

2013 poses a great danger for Christians. It’s dangerous because it’s similar to 2012. One of the greatest sins for Christians is familiarity. If you’ve become familiar with the things of God, you’ve lost your awe.

If you spend more time disciplining others that you’re no longer amazed at the reality of having been chosen to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you’ve spent so much time unpacking the Bible that you’ve forgotten that its end game is personal holiness. You’ve spent hours planning and setting your goals for 2013 that you’ve lost your wonder at the sovereign Planner that guides your every moment.

Psalm 145:6 states that God’s work is awe-inspiring. God created humans to live in daily awe of Him. This means our practical motivation of every human is to be in awed of God.

Familiarity removes this awe. Even worse, when the awe of God is absent, it is quickly replaced by the awe of ourselves. Familiarity produces a blindness that robs you of your awe of God.

We cannot grow arrogant, confident and dependent upon our abilities; because our gifts, abilities, and skills are empowered by the grace of God. Familiarity will kidnap many Christians in 2013 of their awe. The glories of being right, successful, in control, esteemed and secure often become more influential in a Christian’s life than the awesome realities of the presence, sovereignty, power and love of God.

If your life has become familiar boredom, here are four fruits produced by the awe of God.

First, humility reminds us of our self-righteousness. When a believer stands in the glory of God, he’s left with no glory to hold to whatsoever. If you’re comparing yourself to others, you can always find someone who provides you with an argument for your righteousness. Self-righteousness leads to becoming in awe of yourself – controlling, overconfident, judgmental, unfaltering, opinionated and unknowingly building a kingdom whose throne will be inhabited by you.

Second, you’re desperate for God’s grace.

Are you aware of your sin? No one receives and gives grace better than the one who is deeply persuaded he needs it himself. It’s hard to share the Gospel with people you look down on or have no respect for. Familiarity causes us to forget we’re desperate for God.

Third, you should live with a passion for Christ.

No matter how bad 2012 was, you should wake-up every morning with an enthusiastic passion that you’re saved. Your joy shouldn’t be handcuffed to your surrounding circumstances or relationships. You have great reason for joy because you’re a child of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

He is your Father, your Savior – never a familiar Sunday routine. He is ever near and ever faithful. Your passion for Christ is not about how you’re being received by friends at church or in the office – rather it flows out of the reality that you’ve been received by Him.

Fourth, you have a confidence beyond all others because of the God you serve. Not an arrogant, self-righteous, “I’m better than you” attitude. A confidence in His ability.

In 2013, God will not call you to a task without enabling you to do it. He loves your church and her members more than you ever will. Do you have a spiritual gift? No one has more interest in your spiritual gifts than the One who gave them. You can achieve in 2013 what God wants you to do, not because of who you are, rather because He’s your Father – and is glorious in every way.

Confess your sin of familiarity.

God is not routine, boring or predictable. This New Year set the goal of regaining the awe of God. Humility, desperation, passion and confidence all remind us of the awesome glory we have in Christ.

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