Danger lurks everywhere, but sleep is sweet when a guard is well posted.
Have you ever watched a bird or deer feeding? Animals that know that predators lurk in the shadows, eat with a constant alertness. They may drop their heads to pick at a juicy worm, or munch on some spring grass, but they quickly raise their heads again to scan for danger. Those that survive beyond infancy learned to stay vigilant in everything they do. They never let complacency overtake them.
Watch a horse in the field, and you will likely see that when their head faces one direction, their ears are typically turned backwards. Herd animals often rely on the leading buck or main cow elk to keep watch and sound the alarm at the first snap of a twig or blur of fur. The carefree yearlings, of bison or duck, learn quickly to stay close to mom and not stray too far, in spite of their desire to skip and frolic in the warm summer sun.
It is a statistical fact that most auto accidents occur within 3 miles of a person’s home. The repeated conclusion is that drivers are inclined to let their guard down when in the most familiar territory. Most ladder accidents allegedly occur to the experienced contractors who push the boundaries, rather than observe the safety limits. Most child abuse is said to happen from among those whom a child is inclined to trust. It is a human reality that we are very often at the most risk of injury when we are the most confident. Life bites when you least expect it.
Nature teaches that complacency kills. According to Scripture, the same is true for Christians.
“We are not unaware of Satan’s tactics”, reminds the Apostle Paul.
Because Evil is very real, and stalks those who let their guard down–those who believe the lie that the enemy can never reach them, those who think that their castle is impregnable.
God has provided watchmen on the walls, shepherds for his sheep, and supernatural power to destroy the siege-works erected against his people; however, he also warns his people to stay alert and not wander into complacency of thinking or doing or even believing. Christians are commanded to stay awake and watch!
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Tim 4:15)
The Spirit declares that what you believe, as well as how you live out those beliefs, will directly contribute to your eternal safety “if” you follow “closely” what the head buck says. Many churches teach that believers don’t need to worry about anything–they are repeatedly taught that they are guaranteed safe passage through this field of green, even if they disregard the sudden trumpet alarms, and even if they indulge without bothering to stay alert for danger.
It is to these professing Christians, who disregard his warnings and teach his flock that their hope of salvation can never be lost or taken away, that God declares that he has “given them over to believe the lie”.
Christians have been grafted into the Great Olive Branch, by his grace, but their standing remains vulnerable to both pruning as well as to being completely cut off and thrown away. The Apostle says to Christians who think they are safe, even if they wander beyond the walls of protection:
“do not be arrogant, but rather be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” (Rom 11:20-21)
The danger of twisted teachings to Christians is that they are lulled to sleep by ideas of eternal safety that do not submit to biblical truth. Just like the Jews and Pharisees who thought they were guaranteed salvation because they were the descendants of promise through Abraham, so many Christians today claim the same lie of eternal safety.
No matter what anyone tries to sweet-talk into you, hear the word of God to Christians:
“He who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”
Our promised eternal safety is conditioned on our willing obedience to Jesus’ teaching:
“remain in me, and I will remain in you,”
“if you hold to my teachings, then you are truly my disciples, then then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
“In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God; but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”
“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity…If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
Those Christians who teach and live in complacency are identified as pigs that have been washed and then return to the mud. Faithful believers are commanded: “have nothing further to do with them”, and “those who welcome them, share in their wicked work”.
We have been warned. Stay safe. Stay alert. Don’t be seduced by pastoral idolatry and theological adultery. As we nibble in ancient pastures of Church doctrines and traditions, alert Christians will keep their head about them. They will not allow such history, popularity, or orthodoxy to induce a foggy stupor of false safety. Every thought, every teaching, every practice must constantly be examined in the light. Assumptions of safety in numbers does not help protect the vulnerable along the edges who are easy prey.
Our safety is entirely dependent on following the Lord, not on the pasture, not on our church membership, not on our ability to explain our doctrines, and not on superstitions or beliefs. It protects us as we do what he stays, as we stay self-controlled, as we fix our eyes on him. Satan can never snatch anyone from Jesus, but Scripture repeatedly warns believers that he can deceive sheep into wandering away from the safety that is “in Him”. If a person is no longer in him, then they are no longer under his eternal protection–it is what Peter warns believers as to “fall from your secure position”.
Those who were granted the amazing blessing of participating in the supernatural victory that God provided through Gideon, did not include those afraid of the enemy, nor those who took their wary eyes off their surroundings at the water-hole. Rather, it was only the few who kept their heads up and drank water from their hands. God chooses those who stay alert.
Bride of Christ, pay attention to the words of the Lord:
“You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say!…Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure!…Yes, mourn for all the houses of merriment…the fortress will be abandoned…”
Complacency kills. Those who are faithful to obey the gospel message remain under the protective covering of the Lord.
Come, let us graze together in green pastures, alert to those who carefully keep watch over our souls, sensitive to the sudden warnings of the Spirit, and quick to flee from sin.
Don’t sniff the drug of complacency. Stay sensitive to dangers that threaten your Christian soul. Watch and pray!