The Double Headed Serpent - Part II
Last month, we addressed one head of the serpent: sinless perfection. We saw that it is unscriptural for someone to declare that he had arrived at perfection. Jesus taught that in the model prayer, to ask for your daily bread and ask for forgiveness of sin. While writing to believers, John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). Now we will look at spiritual complacency—the second head of the serpent.
Spiritual Complacency Defined
Spiritual complacency, also known as spiritual apathy, is a self-serving lifestyle that justifies sin and compromise. It says, “Everybody sins. I’ll never arrive at sinless perfection, therefore, why try?” The spiritually complacent lose the spiritual battle by default, and they are ok with that; after all, it’s an easier life. It’s a life that fulfills the desires of the flesh more than God’s desires for the individual.
We are called to be holy (I Peter 1:15). We will never arrive at sinless perfection. However, there are many who go to the opposite extreme and live a complacent life of compromise. There are times when we become distracted, or we start to rely on our own spiritual abilities resulting in sin. We must remember, holiness is a prayer away. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
Walk In The Spirit
Paul instructed the churches of Galatia to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16). There are two options and only two options presented: walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh. Spiritual complacency says, “It’s too hard to walk in the Spirit. It’s easier to walk in the flesh. It’s more fun.” The problem is, the Spirit cannot peacefully cohabit with the flesh. They are antithetical enemies. Walking in the Spirit pleases God. Walking in the flesh is the devil’s playground.
Submit And Resist
We are commanded by God’s Word to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). There are three parts to this verse. Two of them, we are responsible to do: submit to God and resist the devil. If we do this acknowledging that our victory was won at Calvary on an old rugged cross, then the third part will be automatic. When we properly submit to God, and we properly resist the devil, then he must flee.
This, however, is too much effort for the spiritually complacent. We are called to live a life of submission to God while resisting the devil. As His children, we should desire walk in holiness. When we fail, we immediately repent and return to a walk of holiness.
Resisting The Holy Spirit
Instead of resisting the devil, the spiritually complacent find themselves in danger of resisting the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come into the world “…He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). There is a well-known preacher who insists that the Holy Spirit will never convict the saint. He interprets this verse as saying that the Holy Spirit convicts “the world” and not the church. He also teaches that it is blasphemous to ask God for forgiveness seeing that Jesus had already paid the price for all of our sins. Another, of the same disposition, says that God knows we are going to sin and therefore expects us to enjoy our sin.
Do you see the danger in this type of thinking? If you are no longer allowing the Holy Spirit to convict you of compromise and sin, then you are in danger of becoming spiritually complacent. If we resist the Holy Spirit while He is attempting to bring us back into right relationship with God, then we are on a slippery slope. Stay diligent. Resist the double-headed serpent of sinless perfection and spiritual complacency.