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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Complacency is not our friend

"The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities." (Benjamin E. Mays) Complacency becomes the norm too many times in our lives - pleased at what we have become, accomplished, or been able to overcome - rather self-satisfied.  Complacency is one of the most cunning and deceiving enemies of our soul - all because we begin to see our "merits" and totally take our eyes off any "demerits" we might have amassed along the way.  When we focus only upon the merits of one's character, we are really making ourselves "unaware" of any potential flaws.  Those who forget their flaws have no desire to grow because they become content with what they already have done, experienced, or know in life.

I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength.  (Philippians 4:13 NLV)

Life is "done" in many ways.  We often find ourselves "doing life" on our own terms, in our own power, within our own devices.  Although this may seem "safer" than exploring into the unknown or "darker" areas of our life, we avoid what may be the most significant places where God's attention needs to be directed.  As Mays said, the danger is not that we will discover or do too much, but rather than we will become content with what has been done and never take another step further.  I don't always like change, but I have learned change brings with it certain benefits - not the least is that of realizing just how much of Jesus I still need in my life!

You may not know who Benjamin Mays was, but you will recognize the name of one of the individuals who learned at his feet - Martin Luther King.  Mays was a Baptist minister and one of the leaders in the Civil Rights Movement.  He spoke so eloquently about the idea of living with a purpose because he himself found his purpose in serving those God brought across his path.  As he said, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for, not failure, but low aim, is sin.”  Low aim - that is an apt illustration describing the reason we so many times just don't take another step, settling for what has been, when what lies ahead awaits us, almost beckoning to us, but we have turned a deaf ear to it.

We may not know what "things" God has in store for us, but we can be faithful to not "settle" for what has been.  The "all things" we can do are only possible when we don't allow complacency to become the pattern by which we live our lives.  Today's impossibilities are not put there to confound or confine us, but to give us room for growth - to expand our capacity.  Strength comes not in inaction, but in purposeful action toward a goal.  Inner change only concludes when all of Christ is resident within - something we really cannot measure, nor can we describe as "complete" until he says it is!  Just sayin!