Summary: Stagnant means sluggish, motionless and inactive. This might be an accurate description of some people’s Christian walk. They’re not living; they’re simply existing. They’re not doing anything with the new life that God gave them. If that describes any of
ARE YOU STAGNANT?
INTRODUCTION: Stagnant means sluggish, motionless and inactive. This might be an accurate description of some people’s Christian walk. Line in a movie: “I just want to live mindlessly from day to day.” Some people are doing just that. They’re not living; they’re simply existing. They’re not engaging; they’re not bettering themselves or anyone else around them. They’re not doing anything with the new life that God gave them. If that describes any of us here today we need to move beyond stagnation and into stimulation.
1) What causes stagnation?
• Laziness (I don’t want to do it). We have been conditioned to be lazy these days. All the modern conveniences that make our life easier have also afforded us the opportunity to develop laziness. We don’t have to get up to change the channel anymore. We get to stay in our La-Z-Boy recliners and push a button. Everything’s automatic and we don’t have to exert ourselves as much anymore, giving us more time to relax and take it easy. All of this can make it easier to slip into stagnation. Mind you, there’s a difference between being tired and being lazy. We need to have balance in our life. We need to take time and rest. But we can also use it as an excuse and get too comfortable, spending more time resting than we should. Someone once said, “The person that can distinguish between being tired and being lazy will go far.” Laziness causes us to become stagnate.
• Apathy (I don’t care to do it). When I’m lazy I can care about something but not put forth the effort to get it done; it’s not a priority. When I’m apathetic, I could care less whether something gets done or not; it’s not important. Nothing inspires me; I’m not enthusiastic about the things of the Spirit. There’s no excitement, there’s no passion. I’m not affected by my lack of motivation to get up and do something. I’m indifferent, complacent; I’m slothful. Apathy causes stagnation.
• Doubt (I can’t do it). We can become stagnant through being in the grip of defeatism. We become entangled in the lies of Satan and we are too afraid to try; lest we fail. We don’t dare venture out of our comfort zone because we’re haunted by the times we’ve tried and failed. It’s best to give up trying to accomplish anything for God since I’m just doomed to fail anyway. When we fall into the trap of debilitating doubt we’ve fallen into the trap of stagnation.
• Sin. 1st Cor. 3:1-3. When we’re giving ourselves over to sin, we stunt our spiritual growth. When we are still worldly we prohibit our progression. Paul had set up the Corinthian church a few years prior to this. But, unfortunately, they had not progressed as they should have. They were stuck in the mud of sin. One of the ways we can tell if we’re in stagnation mode is when we’re comfortable with the sin in our life. When sin starts to bother us less and less we’re in trouble. Instead of feeling conviction we feel apathy. The progression of sin stagnates our life.
2) What will happen?
• We will be ineffective and unproductive. 2nd Pet. 1:3-11. Stagnation will not pursue any of these qualities. In my stagnate state I’m not pursuing goodness. I’m not trying to increase my knowledge. I’m not exhibiting self-control. I’m not trying to persevere; none of these things. Therefore, since I’m not in hot pursuit of these qualities I will be ineffective and unproductive. And if I’m this way Peter calls me nearsighted and blind to the fact that I’ve been cleansed from my sins; otherwise if that was my focus instead of myself (which is what stagnation is wrapped in) I would be striving to acquire these precious gems of God. Titus 3:14, “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” If I’m stagnated I’m not devoting myself to doing good; I’m devoting myself to ineffectiveness and being non productive.
• We will waste away. Stagnate-rust, rot, decay, decline. When we’re doing nothing, something is happening; and it’s not good. There really is no stop and stay; we’re either moving forward or we’re moving backward. We’re either becoming stronger or we’re becoming weaker. Being inactive will cause me to spiritually rot and decay. And in that process I open myself up to Satan. Matt. 12:43-45. The man had been swept clean; this is a picture of forgiveness where the slate has been wiped clean by Jesus. However, the man didn’t do anything with it and because he didn’t progress, he regressed and the evil spirits came rushing back, more than before, making his final condition worse than in the beginning. Notice something: it wasn’t the sin in his life that invited the evil spirits back in, it was the lack of action he took to replace the old with the new. We might think we’re doing okay just because we don’t sin like we used to. But if we aren’t adamant about replacing the old ways with new ones we are in danger. Ecc. 10:18, “If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.” Just as a house will fall apart if it gets neglected so it is with us. If we are lazy in the faith we will deteriorate and waste away. If we think we can do nothing and be okay we’re badly mistaken. Think about it: a marriage doesn’t always come to an end because of abuse or infidelity. Often times it’s a slow process where a spouse doesn’t put anything into the relationship and it declines to the point of divorce. Or what about our health? A person can be sick without doing destructive things to their bodies like abusing drugs or alcohol. I can get sick because I’ve neglected to take care of my body and that neglect catches up to me and I have a heart attack. Staying stagnate will cause me to waste away.