A couple of weeks ago the man who does pest control at my house said, “Once they walk through the chemicals, the bugs will die. So if you see them, bugs will be in one of three conditions: perky but soon to be droopy, droopy but soon to be dead or, well, just dead.” Something about it stuck with me that day as I thought how similar it is to the Christian journey and sometimes even to entire churches. If we are Christ followers, at some point we are perky. Loving Jesus is the most exciting thing we’re doing and our faith is alive with possibilities as we follow Christ better each day.
There are all kinds of ways that we can have the spiritual equivalent of a ‘walk through the chemicals,’ though. And that can have real consequences for our journey, making us droopy, as the bug man said. The longer we’re droopy spiritually, the more likely our faith could end up, well, just dead. If it happens to enough folks in a church, the church can end up in the same condition.
There are those who would say that means you have to follow a strict regimen of tasks each day to make sure this doesn’t happen. I agree we don’t want faith to droop or die but I don’t think the key is a list of tasks. Remember the trouble the Pharisees had from Jesus over the whole extra laws thing. Instead, the antidote to droopiness is steadfastness in our faith. The apostle Peter put it this way: “Discipline yourselves; keep alert.* Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.9Resist him, steadfast in your faith…”(1 Peter 5:8-9a) The beauty of following Christ is that he makes our droopy or even dead faith perky again as we stay steadfast with humble trust in God. And our renewed perkiness has the droopy effect of a ‘walk through the chemicals’ on our adversary. Yay Jesus! (just a little perky extra…)