We have a joke in our family about my cooking – when the smoke alarm goes off in our house, it’s a good sign that we’re going to have a great meal and the more smoke alarms that go off, the better the meal. It’s become kind of humorous among all of us and we’ve become somewhat accustomed to a dinner time smoke alarm – which can be a little scary. Alarms are meant to alert us that something is amiss and should be immediately checked upon. When we get dull to alarms, things can become severely dangerous and God forbid that we should sleep through such alarms!
I wonder if there could be some alarms in our lives that alert us to spiritual lethargy, passivity and languor. I wonder if we don’t sometimes become so comfortable, settled, cozy and tucked into our daily routines that our spiritual lives become dull, shallow and even moribund. Perhaps God is making a clarion call to our hearts to shake off the allure of comfort that can unknowingly poison us with a sleeping sickness that deadens our senses to God’s alarms
The enemy of great is good, the adversary of excellent is average and the foe of extraordinary is moderate. Let’s love God with great sincerity, excellent pursuit and extraordinary passion.
When I was in high school, I used to like some of the Robbie Nevil songs that praised the glories of apathy & indifference (Wot’s It To Ya’, C’est La Vie). I think I liked these songs at the time because I didn’t know how to handle my deep feelings of care, concern and connection for people and the world around me. Sometimes I still feel this way & can get overwhelmed when I think about various situations, Saving Moses, people and events – I’m deeply concerned about what’s happening in Egypt with the instability there.
But just because my feelings can be overwhelming from these various situations, relationships and experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot become apathetic. In my mind, apathy is just a socially acceptable word for passive violence. So what do I do with these things that can easily overwhelm me? Pray.
Prayer is the best immunization against apathy. Pray often, pray quickly, pray fervently and pray all the time.
Fighting is an interesting concept that gets practiced in many different ways:
the guy who flips me off because I cut in front of his car
fighting in Afghan, Iraq, Libya & other areas
fighting with our spouse over little things portending a bigger issue
fighting with a friend over a misunderstanding or something that is wrong
There are lots of ways of fighting, some of which are better than others. When I was first married, Reece & I would have some normal disagreement, but my way of handling the conflict was to just shut down & disengage (aka – silent treatment). Reece didn’t really put up with that technique, saying that there was nothing constructive accomplished w my silence – it didn’t help resolve the conflict, make any progress toward a common goal or do anything constructive. Quickly, I realized that he was right. Since then, Reece & I can definately have some fights & heated conversations, but we don’t clam up & get silent. We also don’t take shots at each other’s person – we may not like the other’s behavior, but we don’t attack each directly. Consequently, while we’ve had some pretty sturdy conflicts, we also have developed some really good honesty & intimacy over the years.
I think the idea of working through a conflict with God is even more important than when we work through a conflict w our spouse. I don’t think that God is into a passive intimacy with us, where we just roll over & play dead. Think about some of the great men in the Bible: Job, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Peter, . . . . These men all had conflicts with God – good honest “fights” where they disgreed with God, wrestled with Him, challenged His integrity, confronted the discrepencies in the world with God’s character & sometimes just flat out debated with God. If we genuinely want a close relationship with God, there will be times when we will disagree with Him & I don’t think this makes Him nervous. Engaging with God whether through intense love or frustration & even anger is better than indifference & passivity. There is such a thing as a “right fight”.