Familiarity breeds contempt.
That’s something we all know.
Yet somehow we still fall guilty time and again. We get so used to so many things that we (sometimes unknowingly) no longer accord the necessary value, importance, honour and responsibility to them.
But to continuously keep them in their rightful place and draw benefits from them, we need to often do a check-up to see how intentional we are about them.
Here are 9 of such things we should watch closely as Christians, lest we take them for granted.
#1. God’s Assignment for you
God always has something for each one of us to do – whether in the long term or in the short term.
Sometimes we start out faithfully, with zest and commitment but as soon as people start despising what we do, we begin to lose zeal.
Sometimes when we judge the size or the perceived importance of the assignment to be small, we slip into inconsistence and unfaithfulness. We often like to be the one doing the big things. But we forget that the small things matter to God as well.
While the Israelites were still in transit in the wilderness, and God separated the Levites unto himself, the initial roles he gave them was essentially to take care of and carry the different structures, items and accessories of the sanctuary, whenever the Israelites moved and halted (Numbers 4).
They weren’t even permitted to prepare them for transit or look in when Aaron’s sons were doing the preparation. To think that this is all the responsibility assigned to a tribe of 22,000 men is surprising.
But that’s how God wanted it.
And as seemingly menial as the roles were, it was as important before God as the many highly-sensitive and duties Aaron and his few sons had to do.
#2. Your Position in Church
It is by grace and mercy that we get into certain roles and positions in church.
But sometimes we forget that and assume it is something we deserved because of the qualities we possess, and what we have done, contributed or achieved.
Sometimes we even see it as a right.
In other instances, we may begin to get too familiar with the position because we have been there for long.
When any of these happens, it often results in an acquired sense of importance and arrogance; loss of a sense of responsibility; evident dip in commitment and flippant disregard for authority.
In short, the individual starts to do whatever he likes without care for conscience, virtue and God.
But we must be careful.
The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, offered strange fire partly because they took their priestly position for granted. They were holding exalted positions where they were required to offer (special) sacrifices to the Lord.
But something got into their heads and they felt they could offer any sacrifice they chose, at any time, even if it was something God did not instruct (Leviticus 10:1).
And we know how it all ended.
#3. The Holy Spirit in You
Scriptures make it clear to us that the Holy Spirit abides in us and we are His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).
But we often forget the grave implication of that; and we take it lightly. That’s one reason fornication has become commonplace in the church. We often lose sight of the fact that we ought to glorify God in our body and spirit. As bearers of the Spirit, we ought to learn to possess our bodies in sanctification and honour (1 Thessalonians 4:4).
The Holy Spirit does get grieved (Ephesians 4:30). And that is sufficient reason to never take Him for granted.
#4. The Salvation of Your Soul
The world’s population today is about 7.8 billion.
Out of that figure, only 2.4 billion are Christians. That’s approximately 31%. Let’s assume that this number represents the proportion that is heaven-bound. What it means is that, 5.4 billion people (a whopping 69%) are trooping to hell and an eternity in agony.
And to think of it that a huge percentage of these people are ignorantly in error; many of them are sincerely on the wrong path.
That should make you grateful every day that grace found you.
But equally important is that it should drive your concern for the lost. It should motivate you to contribute your quota to missions, global evangelization and kingdom advancement.
More so, it should make you keep your faith in the saving grace that redeemed you and not depart from it. “The Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart form the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1).
It is inevitable. People will dump the faith.
But make sure you are not one of them.
#5. The Privileges You Enjoy
It is often said that all fingers are not equal. And that’s something we can’t dispute.
There are certain privileges and opportunities we have been fortunate to enjoy. It could be the kind of family you were born into, the kind of exposures you’ve had, the kind of openings or connections you’ve had or the way things have fallen in place for you quite seamlessly in the journey of life.
But you would be wrong to consider any of those as things you were entitled to. It would be myopic to think that’s how life always is or should be. Because in the final analysis, you’d realize that your efforts alone did not bring them your way. Look around and you’ll see how many others have put in even more efforts yet haven’t been so fortunate.
So, when we take for granted the privileges we have, we miss the realization of God’s blessedness upon us.
That’s what the prodigal son did that landed him in trouble.
#6. Your Natural Endowments and Gifts
When you can do certain things effortlessly and well and people applaud you for it; when you are stunningly beautiful or possess some unique features that people admire you for it and wish they had such too, you may not think it’s a big deal.
And if you don’t reflect deeply, you could take it for granted.
But the truth is, all of that could be gone in a moment. People have lost their beauty to severe burns. People have lost their brains to derangement. People have lost their handy skills to paralysis.
And when you think of it that these things were not earned in the first place, your gratitude index should rise.
#7. Your Relationship With Others
In a world where people pay little attention to building the right relationships and sustaining them, it can be easy to flow along with that tide.
But scriptures encourage us to treat others right. In Matthew 7:12, scripture says, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” This is popularly known as the golden rule.
As the salt of the earth, Scriptures also enjoin us to build peaceful relationships by pursuing peace with all people (Hebrews 12:14).
We are to value people and give honour and respect to others regardless of the kind of relationship it is. Romans 12:11 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.”
#8. Your Liberty in Christ
In Christ Jesus, we have liberty from the yoke of the law and the punishment of sin.
But we need to be careful lest we get carried away and over-stretch this freedom we have in Christ Jesus. For instance liberty in Christ does not provide us room to indulge in sin at will, continually gratify worldly passions or be insensitive to the faith of other believers.
Our freedom in Christ should be to bring glory to the Lord.
So, the scriptures admonish us, “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). For you, brethren have been called to liberty:” only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh” (Galatians 5:13).
#9. Your Appointments with God
As we continue in our Christian journey, we gradually learn to have regular appointments with God in devotions, prayers, meetings and many more. Keeping your appointments with God – especially the personal ones, will ultimately fuel how much of God you know, possess and display.
But sooner or later, one could fall into the trap of seeing these as mere routine. And when that happens, one increasingly finds it difficult to draw from the riches and power such appointments bring along.
Don’t let the devil trick you into being inconsistent or abandoning your personal appointments with God. Don’t relegate time spent before God, no matter how small into something casual. You should always approach God with focus, seriousness and expectation.
Remember that such, is time for serious business. It is time for endowment and encounters.
And the more you keep your personal appointments with Him, the more He pours Himself to you.
Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.