Everything is different in reverse. What direction you think you will end up in is the opposite of where you actually go. What looks to be a simple maneuver turns out to be quite an obstacle course. As a result, technology now compensates for this. A camera shows us where we will end up if we continue down this path. A line tells us when we are too close to the edge. And yet, the best antidote is to continue moving forward.
The word the Bible uses to describe this backwardness of reverse is backsliding. In the King James Version, it occurs 12 times; 9 of which are in the book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 3:22 the LORD says, “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” The diagnosis is in; we need to be cured of this disease. The prescription? We walk forward in faith to God.
We never shift directly from forward to reverse. We must first go to “NEUTRAL,” where we neither move forward nor backward. You see, backsliding does not occur overnight. It is a slow, haphazard regression. It is like boiling a frog. If you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out. If, however, the water is neutral and the temperature is slowing increased it will never move. COMPLACENCY is the neutral gear that moves us in the direction of backsliding.
In Revelation 3: 15-16, Jesus warns the Church at Laodicea about being stuck in the neutral gear of complacency. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” What a dangerous place to be!
The best way to avoid this neutral gear of complacency is to walk forward in faith to God. To do so, we must first undergo an examination. “Am I moving forward in my greatest struggle?” It does not mean the struggle is non-existent but that it is the one losing ground in the battle. Second: “What is God calling me to next?” It is walking forward in faith to God.
It is easy for us, as a church, to get stuck in the neutral gear of complacency. Therefore, it is necessary to ask these questions: Are we moving forward in our great struggle? And what is God calling us to next? It is often out of our greatest struggle that God will call us to what is next. It is my prayer that when He does we will have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to New Life Church.
So, will you join me in praying specifically for our Church?
- Pray for those in our congregation and community that may have backslidden. Ask God to reveal to us ways to love them and lead them back to Him.
- Pray that God will guard our hearts against getting stuck in the neutral gear of complacency. Ask God to give us a hunger for Him as we’ve never had before.
- Pray that God will reveal what He is calling us to next. Ask God to grant us the faith to follow when He does.
Moving Toward Him,
Pastor Jonathan, Sara & Emerson