I remember riding with my upper torso exposed in my gun turret and reading the conveniently placed “Complacency Kills” signs all over the FOB (Forward Operating Base) that my convoy had stopped at for the day. The image and location of these signs have been seared into my brain as a constant reminder of the need for hyper vigilance. If we drop our guard in a moment of complacency we would be opened for attack. In the Army we trained for weeks and even months at a time prior to my deployment to hammer in the basics so when the time of testing occurred we wouldn’t think, we would react. You learned and relearned things to the point of absurdity so that it became muscle memory. Drills and scenarios in harsh conditions that pushed my body and mind to their limits helped me to know that I had what it took if the need would arise. In a very short time I went from being a weekend warrior in the Army National Guard to a full time soldier in a combat zone. Playtime was over.
The same has been true in my spiritual life. Although I think I had a long reluctant courtship with Jesus prior to my full submission to His will, it seemed that in a very short period of time I went from being an interested observer to full time combatant in the Lord’s army equipped with the full armor of God. The same principle was also true in regards to training. I immersed myself immediately into intense study, prayer, learning the basics of my faith and was tried by fire by jumping headlong into ministry in every capacity available to me. The lesson I learned while deployed in Iraq still rings true now, maybe truer. Complacency kills.
How many times do you feel like giving up, or worst yet, how many times do you feel apathetic to the whole process of faith? I’ll admit that I’ve been there and constantly have to remind myself to not let my guard down but more often than not in moments of weakness or laziness I drop my shield of faith and BOOM. That’s when it happens. When my defenses are low those spiritual roadside bombs seem to catch me when I least expect them. We know what to do, we know God’s word is true, but in our pride we sometimes put our perceived needs in front of the mission God has called us to. Like spoiled children we whine and cry if we don’t get our way or if God’s will doesn’t line up with what we thought it should be and instead of obedience we fall into rebellion. Are we honoring Jesus with our lips but denying him with our hearts by our actions? Titus addresses this in chapter 1 verse 16 of his epistle when he says “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”
When we allow ourselves to become apathetic to the will of God we are “unfit for doing anything good.” We have dropped our guard, become complacent and are completely unguarded from the coming attack. I love how in Ephesians 6 Paul warns us to be prepared for battle and assures us that it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when the flaming arrows will fly in our direction.
If we are charging forward, fully trained and outfitted for the coming spiritual battle we may take fire from all directions but we are assured in our victory by the spiritual armor we have been given by the father. If, however, we have become complacent and apathetic, we will most likely be taken down by the coming attack and ill prepared to defend ourselves when the moment of violence occurs. Will you take up your sword of the spirit and shield of faith and fight the good fight? Remember, complacency kills!