My nifty Mac dictionary defines “complacent” as showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements. Add Christianity to the mix and you get what many deem an accurate description of a movement that seems void of, not only what Jesus was known for, but what the Holy Spirit-driven early church experienced.
What’s even more startling is this talk isn’t mainly a perception from those outside looking in. It’s an admission by those on the inside, by many of Jesus’ followers in our modern world.
As I talk to and observe my fellow brothers and sisters regarding this dilemma, I can’t help but feel that the common denominator in the mundane that seems to have plagued the Christian landscape is the search for and the desire in the wrong “god”. I’ll hear phrases like, “church was good today” or “worship (music portion) was awesome.” And, then, a week later the same breaths gasp for air from the change in feel that their latest Sunday service offered them.
“Church was OK this week.” … “I wasn’t connecting with the pastor’s sermon today.”
Granted these “perks” are great when they hit the mark, but these perks aren’t what ought to dictate how our relationship with God is. Sadly, for the early decade of me and God, it was the “make it or break it” determiner in how I viewed God on any given week.
The perfect church experience was the “god” I was seeking.
What I love about Daniel, as I’m reading through the prophet’s revelations, is his unending desire to know God and God alone. Daniel didn’t let go of God. He held as tight as he could to God and when he couldn’t squeeze any tighter, Daniel squeezed more. The many visions that Daniel received spoke directly into the nature of his relationship with God. Daniel didn’t rely on his “church” experience to draw him closer to God. In fact, church for Daniel was constant moments of him praying and worshipping God wherever he was at. The text, at times, tells us that Daniel trembled at the sight of certain visions because of the severity of it. How many of us still tremble when we think of the awesomeness that is God? How many of us, like James says, shudder in fear at the sound of His name? That comes only when we are personally connected to Him.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying church is useless and we should do away with them altogether (or maybe I am =)). Church is important. Having fellowship with God’s people is crucial. Being in accountable relationships help bring us out of our darkened states and into God’s light. Living in community with a body of believers help bring a sense of mission. But what I am saying, however, is, many times, we allow our church experience to dictate how close or not-so-close to God we are. When the music is off, our relationship with God is off. When the pastor doesn’t hit the right cues and tell the right jokes, then our weeks are horrible. But when the worship leader sings all the right notes and when the ushers go the extra mile at saying, “Hi,” then God is awesome again.
Our church experience shouldn’t dictate our relationship with God. Our relationship with God should dictate our church experience. Meaning to say, when we’re already worshipping God in our lives outside of church, when we’re fully connected to God and seeking Him daily, then we can walk into our sanctuaries already worshipping Him regardless if we like the songs or not.
How about you? Where are you at with God? And have you allowed your church experience, or lack thereof, dampen the solidity of God in your life?