This is another journal I had written before starting a blog, so I’ll be posting it to the current timeline rather than backdating it. It’s about the things we try to get away with in our hearts, minds, and spirits, even when we know better. Again, it’s an old gem worth sharing with anyone who is looking for a challenge.
Edit: Actually, as of March 23, 2014, I’m creating a new category for journals written “Before Cafe Latte,” so this will be moved there.
Originally written on March 8, 2005:
On a Friday afternoon about a week-and-a-half ago, a guy at work discussed the chapter in Colossians about Christian living. Specifically he brought up the issue about coarse language, and the Bible’s instruction regarding its use. I was a bit surprised at first because I didn’t realize anyone at my job actually read the Bible. But after the initial shock passed about a second or two later, I started thinking about what he was saying.
I went home that night to read Colossians 3 again, since it had been so long since I read it last. The context of the chapter involved putting the old self behind us as we embrace the life Christ restored in us. This means putting away all forms of idolatry, and those ugly things that disgrace the Lord. The one verse in particular that the guy at work had brought up to another coworker was Colossians 3:8, which states (according to the New American Standard), “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” He brought this up because the workplace is a haven for “abusive speech,” and he wanted to show that there is in fact a verse that addresses that.
Now, I walked in on the middle of this conversation, but I caught enough of it to get me thinking about some things. It seems that most of us these days take God’s grace for granted. I know my biggest weaknesses involve anger and endurance. I know other Christians who deal with slander and abusive speech. Some Christians even struggle with immorality. Some of us recognize our struggles and do what we can to fight them. Others take the grace of God for granted and continue to live life however they feel like.
I wanted to write this down in my journal because I know I struggle with complacency. When I find my endurance failing, I find myself giving up on the fight and I just cave into whatever I tried resisting. It sucks because I know Christ saved me, but I feel as though I’ve done nothing to really appreciate that. I mean, He lived thirty-three years free of sin, endured an immense amount of pain on the cross to give me an eternity worth having, and I can’t even do my part to at least try to emulate His love. In twenty-eight years of life, I managed to defile my heart with anger, lust, destructive feelings, backbiting, and worse of all, complacency many, many times—sometimes even on a daily basis, and I’m still five years short of living Jesus’ life span. And though I know He struggled with all the same temptations that I struggle with at one time or another, I don’t put up nearly as strong of a fight as He did. In the end I feel like I failed twice.
I realize that my imperfection is greatly stacked against me. I suppose one of the greatest side-effects of having partaken in the knowledge of good and evil is knowing that I’m not perfect and that my propensity to sin is just as strong as my propensity to righteousness. I find that knowing my imperfection makes it much easier to justify anger, lust, destructive feelings, etc., which in turn makes my complacency so much more damaging than anything else I struggle with. And that’s the heart of my greatest concern because complacency is the weight that can knock a Christian off his feet and hold him in that defeated position indefinitely.
I’m writing this because I don’t think I’m alone here. As I stated before, I’ve known Christians who have willingly submitted to various problems that Colossians 3 warns us about. I think bad language is the one that most Christians seem to tolerate the most—I guess because it seems the least harmless, but I still find myself asking why. Why do we think it’s okay to speak a little fouler? Why do we think it’s okay to get just a little bit angrier? Why do we think it’s okay to hold back on loving others? Why do we think it’s okay to take God’s grace for granted?
I’m not writing this to instantly fix my own issues with the things God has told us to steer clear from. I know stuff like that takes time to repair. I’m writing this because I need to draw attention to the fact that they do exist within me because if I forget they’re there, I’ll just keep taking my life for granted. I figure I take enough things for granted already, that I don’t need to take grace for granted, too. Just because the Lord forgave me doesn’t mean I have a green card to do whatever I feel like. A forgiving God doesn’t always make for a happy God, and I know that even though I can forgive a wrongdoing against me, I still get upset when it happens. I just don’t think living complacently is a responsible way to live—with or without grace.
Let this be my prayer to overcome complacency because when that’s healed, the rest will eventually fall into place.