HEBREWS 6:10-12 – For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
THEME OF THE DAY. OVERCOMING SLUGGISH CHRISTIANITY. What happens when a muscle is not used over a period of time? It atrophies. The inactivity leads to its weakening and even to the point of it being unusable. The same will happen in our spiritual lives. If inactivity, defined as being a hearer of the Word only and not a doer, is tolerated, we will spiritually atrophy becoming weak, even unusable. But before this deadly state comes upon us, we first become sluggish or lacking zeal. We still have the outward remnants of a walk with the Lord; attending church, maybe serving in a ministry, but the vibrancy of the abiding life in Christ is slowly ebbing away.
In today’s scripture, God has provided us important instructions to overcome sluggish Christianity that will prevent “spiritual atrophy.” First is the reminder that God takes notice of our obedience and service for Him – For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. This is an important truth to grasp. It is easy to fall into a “Christian routine” of just going through the acts of service without keeping the “big picture” before us. Allow me to illustrate. Let’s say we commit to a ministry. At first, we get all excited about it, but soon, the tingle of being involved in something new is lost. The emotional excitement, like a dying campfire, loses its glow and warmth. We begin to struggle with faithfulness, the joy in serving is ebbing. The “good” feelings are lacking. The joy has lessened. Thank God the Lord gives us joy in ministry, but there are times we minister out of faithfulness alone and that often without feelings. And the way to prevent this type of “feelings-based” ministry is to remember God takes notice of our labor with the promise of rewarding our labor. This is what prevents sluggish Christianity; remembering the Lord of Glory is overlooking our ministry, not sometime, but all the time. It will strengthen our faithfulness and lead to zeal, not “spiritual atrophy”.
Another help from the Lord to overcome sluggish Christianity is to look at church history, and even in our churches today, of examples of zealous and faithful Christians – And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Friends, the road of faith we are traveling has been and is being walked upon by those who have gone before us, and those among us. We receive much encouragement to “press on”, “continue the race” and “fight the good fight” by looking at examples from the past and in the present. We will see that the God of all grace who worked zeal and faithfulness in them will do also in us. And two good ways to be encouraged by examples is to read biographies of great Christians in the past and develop spiritual relationships with zealous Christians in the present. Both will prevent sluggish Christianity.
May the Lord help us to look to Him in our service and to other fellow pilgrims as examples. In doing so, we will ensure a sluggish Christian life leading to “spiritual atrophy” will not occur.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to be not only a hearer of Your Word but a doer of Your Word.”
QUOTE: “More often than not, the cause of dull, lukewarm Christianity is a lack of obeying the Word of God we know.”