Not long ago, our younger daughter graduated from college and moved into an apartment. She lives in a large apartment complex in her city. Somehow the thought of her living off campus and in a sprawling apartment complex put a few worries into my head. Charlotte and I helped her move into this apartment. Of course, being the protective father I am, I checked the locks on her door, talked to her about safety between her apartment and her car, and left a baseball bat in her apartment. She protested on that one but I managed to leave it anyway. (Okay, maybe I went a little overboard.)
Now I didn’t want to scare her to death, but I did want to remind her that this is a dangerous world and that we all have to deal with threats. It is important to be smart and aware.
Christ-followers face some threats as well, and we ought to pay attention to these possibilities. A few of these threats include:
1. A life that is absorbed in self-pity. Nothing is sadder than a minister/pastor/church leader who wallows in self-pity. Such self-pity causes one’s heart to be self-focused and self-absorbed. The Bible is full of references to people who suffered for a variety of reasons. Yet, suffering never becomes a justification for self-pity.
2. A loss of any sort of quest for holiness. This loss may be a reaction to legalism. There are people who once drank deeply from the wells of legalism and who now recoil at words like "holy," "obedience," and "discipleship." Nevertheless, the grace of God doesn’t just forgive sins but serves to shape a new kind of people.
3. A faith without passion. No, I am not suggesting that faith has to be loud and demonstrative or have a certain personality. Our personalities very much influence how we express the passion inside of us. That being said, there is something wrong when our love and adoration of God creates no passion for him. There is something wrong when we tell our children that we are God’s people and yet it appears to them that we couldn’t care less about the things of God. Typically, we are passionate about what we value. Talk to any rabid football fan or doting grandmother. They will express passion for what they love.
4. A love for the world. I am not referring to the people in the world but the world as a system. We are often tempted to be entranced by pleasure, material wealth, and the pursuit of a status that will call attention to ourselves. We are bombarded with messages every day that are seductive. Such seduction causes us to get used to the dark. Soon, the darkness of the world seems "normal." As a result, we become more and more in love with this world.
What are some other threats that face Christ-followers? What have you seen or experienced?