Summary: It is a burden God placed on my heart after seeing many fine, committed Christians suddenly drop out of circulation in terms of Christian life and service because of a perceived sense of having “paid their dues” or having “finished the race”. The Christi
It is a burden God placed on my heart after seeing many fine, committed Christians suddenly drop out of circulation in terms of Christian life and service because of a perceived sense of having “paid their dues” or having “finished the race”. The Christian life is not something we do, it is what we are. How can we drop out of being what we are? I like the words of Dr. Billy Graham who said, “I don’t read anywhere in the Bible where it talks about retirement.” There is a real danger in our Christian life when we think we have reach a spiritual plateau and need not progress further in running the race. This is what I mean by the danger of spiritual satisfaction. It should not be confused with the Fruit of the Spirit, which bring contentment and peace and are produced by abiding in Christ. Thus, a person can have the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and deep inner joy and still be spiritually dissatisfied in his/her walk with the Lord. It is called a Holy dissatisfaction and it is essential in maintaining not only a healthy Christian life but also a healthy local church.
I’ve heard it said if we are not moving forward in our Christian life, we are coasting backward. There should be no ”status quo” in your Christian life. The “status quo” is really the “status woe” for the Christian and the death nail for the church. Many churches are dead today because they are filled with “status quo” Christians who cry “status woe” when they are put on the “status go” to do something for the Lord. They are content to use their past accomplishments for the Lord as an excuse for doing nothing for the Lord in the present and succeeding. But, the Apostle Paul had some incisive words in Philippians 3:12-14 for believers who used their perceived sense of spiritual satisfaction as an excuse to drop out of mainstream Christianity:
“12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. 14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Here, I believe the Apostle Paul shares with us three eminent dangers of spiritual satisfaction. The first danger of spiritual satisfaction is that it DENIES OUR CONTINUAL NEED TO GROW IN CHRIST. I read in a message one time that when Spain led the world (in the 15th century), their coins reflected their national arrogance and were inscribed with the words “Nothing Further.” It meant that Spain felt it was the ultimate in all the world. Yet, after the discovery of the New World, Spain quickly realized they were not the end of the world and changed the inscription on their coins to read “More Beyond.” Which motto, better expresses our Christian life or that of our church: “Nothing Further or “More Beyond”? Many Christians and churches are responding today by saying, “Sorry, nothing further.”
Just as an acorn is a complete oak tree, but still far from being complete in its development as an oak tree, so the true child of God is also complete in all parts as a Christian but not yet complete in all the stages of development in faith. Colossians 2:10 says, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” Thus, we are complete in Christ but the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12 we must work out the completed work God has worked in: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” And the Apostle Peter exhorts us with the similar words: “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Pet. 3:18)
One who is spiritually satisfied fails to recognize that these developmental stages are going to continue until the day of Jesus Christ. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Thus, Paul says in verse 12: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus”. He speaks from such spiritual maturity and purity that we might expect he has conquered all these difficulties and sees himself as having “arrived”; but he assures us in this is not so. There is no perfectionism in Paul. The best men in the world will readily own up to their imperfections. Why? Because wherever there is true grace, there is a desire of more grace, and a pressing towards the perfection of grace.