Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

STAGNANT CHRISTIANITY: AN OXYMORON

The word “stagnant” isn’t very pretty. According to dictionary.com, it’s an adjective which means:

  1. not flowing or running, as water, air, etc.
  2. stale or foul from standing, as a pool of water.
  3. characterized by lack of development, advancement, or progressive movement a stagnant economy.
  4. inactive, sluggish, or dull.
Its synonyms include words like dormant, lifeless, dead, inert, and lazy. Again…the word stagnant is not very pretty.
 
Wanna visual of stagnant? Here you go…consider this pond:

A stagnant pond: lifeless & inert

It’s covered with green, mossy scum due to its inactivity. It has no progressive movement. It has a murky, putrid surface with nothing stirring underneath. There’s nothing flowing into it and nothing flowing out. It’s a stale, foul, standing pool of water. 

Wanna ‘nother visual? (And this one’s gonna hurt…so be forewarned…) Go look in the mirror. OUCH! 

Think about it…we can easily become just as stagnant as this pond. We get complacent. We become apathetic. We have no progressive movement. There’s nothing flowing into us, and nothing flowing out. We can become the same stale, foul, standing pool of water with the same murky, putrid surface. And in my opinion, the saddest state of affairs, my friends, is when Christians become stagnant. (No, I’m not standing in judgment of anyone here, I’m simply making an observation.)

Stagnant Christianity. If ever there was an oxymoron, here it is. These two words shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence. Afterall, Christians (i.e. “Christ followers”) have a personal relationship with the One who not only gives life, but gives abundant life. In addition, Christians are commanded to use the gifts we’ve been given to serve one another in love (1 Peter 4:10, Galatians 5:13). So, how in the world can we become stagnant? Trust me…it happens. I see it every week. Sometimes when I look in the mirror…and sometimes when I observe others.

Try this assessment of yourself. I know I’ve become stagnant when _____________:

  1. Church is merely something I check-off on my to-do list.
  2. Opportunities to learn, worship, or grow spiritually come my way and I pass them by.
  3. Occasions to give, serve, or go bless other folks come my way and I fail to engage.
  4. I’m so protective of my time that I view outside opportunities (to grow myself or to give of myself) as inconveniences. 

Bottom line is this: In order to guard against stagnant Christianity, there’s gotta be flow. There’s gotta be progressive movement. There’s gotta be input, and there’s gotta be output.

INPUT: learning, growing, reading books, actively studying, engaged in Bible study or Sunday school, listening to sound preaching/teaching, etc. Simply put, we must be frequently and consistently poured into by healthy, foundational, spiritual Truth.

OUTPUT: teaching or mentoring others, putting your gifts/talents to use by serving others, actively engaged in something greater than yourself, blessing others, etc. Simply put, we must be frequently and consistently pouring ourselves out and giving to others what we’ve been given.

It’s easy to sit back and say, “Stagnant Christianity doesn’t apply to me at all, but I know a bunch of other people who need to read this and make some big changes!” (Truthfully, I’m guilty of this all the time.) But, this time, sit back and ask God to tell you how to respond. Don’t decide for yourself whether or not you’re currently stagnant, let God tell you that. And once you hear from Him, start stirring the waters!

Don’t allow stagnant Christianity to exist in your world!

Get caught up in the flow!

How do you guard yourself against the oxymoron of stagnant Christianity? (Please feel free to leave a comment, like this post, or share with others.)

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