The Spirit of Familiarity


“Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam” [Numbers 22:28, NLT].

One of the reasons for stagnation in the spiritual lives of some Christians is familiarity with God’s Spirit and His Word. Familiarity can simply be referred to as a state in which you are no longer moved by what you hear or see, when you should be. It is a state of either conscious of subconscious nonchalance, where decisions that are made, go contrary to what God’s Word has clearly outlined or what His Spirit is leading you to do.

The psalmist let us know that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path [Psalms 119:105], helping us navigate through the myriad complexities of life. Also, we are shown that when we hide God’s Word in our heart, we will not sin against God. Furthermore, our Lord Jesus expressly told us of the Holy Spirit who would lead us into all truth, which is God’s Word [John 16:13, John 17:17]. Isn’t it to our grave detriment when we get to a place or state where we are neither moved or challenged by God’s Word and His Spirit?

The Spirit of familiarity first plagued Satan and has continued to affect mankind since then. We see this happening not only in our relationships with God but with our fellow men. The devil through familiarity said, “I will ascend to the heavens and be like God” [Isaiah 14:13], because He had become familiar with God due to his role as the “anointed cherub that covers” [Ezekiel 28:14]. He was constantly in the presence of God that He took it for granted and soon pride crept into his heart and corrupted him.

It is this same pride that causes us to neglect God when He cautions us concerning non-Christ-like behaviors, ungodly relationships, unforgiveness etc. We see scriptures, social media posts or are even cautioned through friends, family, and loved ones. Yet, due to familiarity, our hearts reject sound counsel and we continue in a state of disobedience.  Once, when God’s prophet failed to heed to His warning, it took God speaking through a donkey to get His own prophet to listen to what He had to say. Must God speak through donkeys before we listen? 

The Bible lets us know that the path to destruction is broad, but God’s path tends to be narrow. This means that we can not follow the ways of the masses (the world), and conduct our affairs as they do. If we are living like them, then who is light and who is darkness, and who is influencing who? We are to be an example to them, and not them to us. God’s leading is not about how we feel or what we want, but what God knows is best for us in the grandeur plan He has laid out for us before the foundations of the earth.

How much do you trust in God? How much you trust in Him will determine how you yield to His leading regardless of how it comes to you. How much you trust in God, will help guard you against the Spirit of familiarity. Because of your trust in God, when his leading comes, your first response is “Lord, I say Yes to your will and to your way”.

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