Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” (Mark 6:4)
The old saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” essentially means that the more familiar you become with something, the easier it is to lose sight of the importance of it, to lose respect for it, and to no longer delight in it. This kind of familiarity poses a disastrous danger when it comes to our faith and our desire to follow the Lord Jesus wherever He leads.
We see a telling example of this when Jesus began to preach in his hometown. People who knew him dismissed Him. “’Isn’t this the carpenter?'” they asked skeptically. “‘Isn’t this Mary’s son?’ And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3). Those who had known Jesus the longest and were most familiar with Him did not accept Him for what He truly was: Savior and Lord.
When we let familiarity take hold of our walk with Jesus, we begin seeing life through the eyes of the flesh rather than through the eyes of faith. We lose sight of the grandeur of the glory of God, which is present in everything, everywhere, and at all times.
Think about it this way:
- What once produced worship is now watered down
- What once caused us to say no to sin and yes to righteousness is silenced
- What once filled us with awe and majesty has become antiquated and muted
- What once stirred our hearts unto zeal for Jesus, barely registers a pulse
Living for the grandeur of the glory of God was meant to be the driving force in our lives. The glory of God should be the organizing principle behind everything we think, do, say, and desire in this life. But if we aren’t careful, our familiarity with the things of our faith can breed spiritual lethargy. We begin to take God for granted. We start viewing God as a cosmic genie, who will be called on only when we want to satisfy our desire for some earthly thing. We allow the blessings in our lives to become more important than the One who blesses. And when life is not going according to our plans, we may even begin to grumble against God.
Remember, what rules your heart shapes your life. When we let anything smaller than Jesus occupy too much space in our hearts, we begin to lose our grip on the grandeur of the glory of God. The longer we walk with God, the more familiar we become with Him and His ways. To keep from allowing familiarity to breed contempt, we must remember to see all of life through the eyes of faith, not through the desires of the flesh. We need to live in the shadow of the cross, where the fire of our faith will be stoked and strengthened — not just daily, but moment by moment. This is where familiarity will continue to grow the fire of our faith, not extinguish it.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!