September 09, 2019

On Auto Pilot

Devotion for the Week...

A few years ago, Paul heard someone on the radio talking about how God wants a real conversation with us, not rote repetition. The background for the person talking was the voice of a child saying, "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food." That common grace is exactly the one we use most often and I do find it is really easy to close my eyes and say those words silently before eating, without really paying attention to what I'm saying. Saying thank you to God for our food is a wonderful habit to have...if we are consciously thanking Him. If we're just saying, or thinking, the words without paying attention to them, then it seems to me like it's just a waste of time. Grace can easily become something we do on auto pilot, rather than something meaningful.

Of course, saying grace isn't the only Christian activity that can be done on auto pilot more than out of a desire for a connection with God. Do we go to church because we really want to spend that time with Him and with other believers or do we go just because that's what we do on Sundays? Do we put money in the offering plate because we want to support the work of the church or because the plate is passed around and we feel we're expected to put something in?

Predicting what the last days will be like, Paul wrote about people "having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). That has always been the verse that comes to mind for me when I think of any religious activity done on auto pilot. Saying grace mindlessly certainly has the form of godliness, but there's no power to it. There's no power in allowing words to flow through your lips if you don't really mean them. And you can't really mean them if you're not paying attention to them.

Here's the thing - doing religious things mindlessly looks an awful lot like doing them consciously. You can't tell by looking at me if I'm saying grace mindlessly or not. I wouldn't be able to tell by watching you come into church if you're doing it out of habit or out of a desire for connection to God and other believers. Only I can know if my faith is on auto pilot or not.

Well, not quite. God knows, too. Psalm 139:1-4 says "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely." Not only does He know what we say or think, but He also knows the intention behind it. He knows when we're focused on Him and when we're just going through the motions.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilt background is my Scraps Squared quilt
We must ask ourselves, then, is our faith on auto pilot? Are we just going through the motions, content to have the appearance of a connection with God? Or are we consciously focused on strengthening our relationship with Him? Do we want to form of godliness or do we want the power that comes from God?

3 comments:

  1. A good question to ask. I think that I would have to answer yes... I go on autopilot a lot. Maybe slowing down and reflecting needs to be done in my life more. Thank you for writing your Monday Devotions again.

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  2. Thanks, Leanne for the reminder, mindfulness is something we always need to remember & strive toward. Having a relationship with God is like any other: it takes work to make it meaningful.

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  3. It's so easy to slip into auto-pilot mode, and I do it far more often than I care to admit...
    We sometimes talk too about our relationship to God being like our marriage relationship - even though we've been married 37 years, we still make a point of telling each other "I love you" every day. My hubby knows that I love him, so I shouldn't have to tell him all the time, right? He'd probably get a bit concerned if I didn't say it though - and it's the same with our relationship to God!

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