ARE YOU TOO FAMILIAR WITH GOD? THE CONTEMPT THAT FAMILIARITY BREEDS- Pt. 1
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. Let's look at this scripture in Mark 6 and see it in the life of Jesus.
Mark 6:1-6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Familiarity: close acquaintance or knowledge of something; relaxed friendliness or intimacy between people. the quality of being well known; recognizable based on long or close association.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH BEING FAMILIAR WITH GOD?
Relaxed friendliness is what stands out to me most in the above definition. The problem is that it causes us to view God as common or ordinary. Familiarity brought about contempt in their hearts towards Jesus, as they considered him to be just like them. When God sets someone apart and sanctifies them for holy service, they are not just like you and if you view them as ordinary you will miss out on how God wants to reveal himself to you. If you don't view God as he truly is- God Almighty, creator of the universe, King of kings and Lord of lords, righteous, holy and just in all his ways, you will treat him like everyone else in your life, and that is dishonoring.
How has familiarity with God crept into your life?
Do you find yourself speaking of him or viewing him in a relaxed manner?
Do you find yourself prevailing upon his kindness and not cherishing the fact that he is long-suffering and patient with you?
Do you find yourself viewing grace as common?
I absolutely believe in the immense measure of God's grace, especially as it relates to sin, but we must never view it as familiar, ordinary or common. I really believe familiarity with God must be guarded against at all cost, as it causes us to have a relaxed view of his great grace. God is full of grace and mercy, kindness and patience, but we must never prevail upon his grace in a familiar way, where it becomes common or ordinary, as that is disrespectful. The fullness of salvation includes the righteousness, holiness and standards God- by his grace, so we must not get too familiar with it. Jesus endured a great amount of hostility from sinful people, and we must make sure we don't fall into that same trap. I really believe this must be heeded dear ones, as God is also holy and just. This is why we need prophets and prophetic people in our lives. They carry the aspect of God's nature and character that deals in righteousness and holiness. It's not either or, but both. I am a prophet of God and I am not ashamed of it. And I am not ashamed of the glorious gospel of Jesus that should lead us to repent and be saved. The fullness of salvation includes righteousness, holiness and standards, not only grace. Grace should empower you to live by this aspect of God's nature, character and standard. Many speak of the love of God but leave out the standards the his love requires. God has a standard for everything. We can trust in the love of God because he is holy. His love has standards that involve his holiness and righteousness. We try and bring God down to our standards, when we need to rise up to meet his.
Hebrews 12:25-29 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.”This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.
Paul reminds us earlier in Hebrews 12 that we must work at living a holy life, being at peace with everyone, looking after each other so that none of us fail to receive the grace of God. This is why I share this warning about familiarity dear friends.
WE MUST NOT TOLERATE PRIDE!
Familiarity opens the door to many adversaries and pride is just one of them.
Job 38:1-13 NLT Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?“Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with cloud and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come- Here your proud waves must stop!’“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
I think we all know the story of Job, but it may do us all good to read this story again this month as we allow the Lord to rid us of all familiarity with him. Job most certainly dealt with a great amount of injustice, but as we see in chapter 38, even Job had to take a step back, as it related to being too familiar with the Almighty. When we go through such trials, pride can easily creep in and cause us to view God incorrectly. God is always reaching towards us but pride will prevent us from touching him because he resists all who are proud- (1 Peter 5) . Humbling ourselves before him gives his grace the opportunity to reach us and work, which will in turn enable us to see how familiarity with God gave birth to pride and offense to begin with-for future guarding. Anything that is not profitable or pleasing to him, must go in our lives, so we can fully embody who he is in the earth, and often times it begins with uprooting pride, first. Pride causes us to be short-sighted only valuing the moment,with no thought of eternity. When this happens it affects our daily walk and communion with God, and we will begin to dishonor him in our personal relationship. We will begin to view him as ordinary when we come to him in prayer or in worship and not give him the glory and honor or time that he is due. We will begin approaching him a hurry, squeezing him into our day, instead of making him a priority. Yes he is a good, good father, but it is his goodness and kindness that should lead us to repent and change what we are doing.
Romans 2:4 AMP- Or do you have no regard for the wealth of His kindness and tolerance and patience [in withholding His wrath]? Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]?
We must most certainly remember, that he is God and we are not; He is the all powerful One and we are not; He is the all knowing One and we are not. God gives us clear direction on how to approach him.
Psalm 100:1-5 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
TOO COMFORTABLE OR FAMILIAR WITH GOD'S GRACE
It bears repeating to take a closer look at grace. Grace is a gift from God, and like all gifts from God, it should be treasured. Familiarity with God will have will have you viewing grace as ordinary. Grace is meant to separate us from sin and the world and empower us to live unto God, as his holy people. If we get familiar with the grace of God we will most certainly misuse it. When grace is not viewed or applied properly, we do not see sin as it truly is and do not live holy lives, for the sake and glory of his name. Grace should always lead us to repentance, sanctification and holy living.
Romans 6:1-3, 14-15,19 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ...For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace....What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! ...I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.
Slaves to righteousness seems like hard language and even archaic in a world where of just do it. Jude warned the early church members about taking God's grace for granted and defending the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We deny Jesus and his great salvation when we take his grace for granted. I have at times gotten too familiar with God and his amazing grace. In those times, it was most certainly his grace that kept me from destruction, when it could have been empowering me. Familiarity with God and grace caused me to wander away from the Lord, when it should have been empowering me to love, honor and serve him. You may think you know these things, but the bible reminds us that angels left their proper place when they forgot to guard what they knew. We must view God in light of his holiness and receive his grace properly, so as to posture ourselves rightly before the Lord. We cannot separate God's grace from his power and purity, as they work together to reveal his nature.
FAMILIARITY LEADS TO A LACK OF HONOR
At the foundation of all familiarity is dishonor. As was stated in Mark 6- Jesus said:"A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Familiarity opens the door to dishonor through pride, and offense. The people in Nazareth took great offense at Jesus, as they discussed his sermon and miracles. They couldn't believe he had such wisdom, after-all he was one of them. They were unable to get past him growing up down the street from them, as Mary and Joseph's boy. Jesus further explains that he wasn't accepted in his own home for who he was, or among other relatives either, because of familiarity.
Contempt: the feeling that a person or thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving of scorn; disregard for something that should be taken into account.
Years ago I had a vision of a coming move of God that would astound many in signs, wonders and miracles, all the while hardening the hearts of so many others, with doubt and unbelief. I now believe that familiarity was the culprit behind the contempt I remember seeing on their faces in the vision. Contempt had blinded them from seeing who God was using to set people free. In the vision, people were getting healed and delivered and others would walk by as if nothing at all was happening. I remember asking the Lord why? This is the scripture I recalled coming up in my spirit.
Matthew 24:12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.
Many in Israel missed God's visitation to earth through his Son Jesus, probably for many reasons, but one reason for sure, their love had grown cold for God. Don't let your love grow cold dear friends and miss his visitation of peace in your life. Jesus said on the day of his triumphal entry in Luke 19:41-
But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes..."
Forgive us oh Lord for being too familiar with you. Return us to the fear of the Lord, so we will not trespass against you or bring dishonor to your great name. Forgive, deliver and heal us oh Lord, I ask in Jesus name.
I pray you grow more in love with Jesus today and everyday.