“Jesus said to them “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there…”
There’s an expression that says “familiarity breeds contempt”. Contempt is defined as “the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration.” That’s bad. But familiarity isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. It is defined as “a state of close relationship; intimacy”. You can’t be close or intimate without familiarity. Deep friendships and loving relationships are built around one’s familiarity with the other person, knowing their character and developing a sense of honor and respect for it. Familiarity like this evokes and sustains love.
So why does the saying go that familiarity breeds contempt? The difference is whether or not our familiarity with someone is tied to honor and respect, or to boredom and laziness. Respect and honor require effort, boredom and laziness require nothing. It’s far easier to become bored with someone; the diligence needed to sow into and invest in the relationship is not required of you. Like a child with a new toy, boredom easily follows ready access. The initial excitement, awe, and wonder is often lost the longer we are around someone or something.
So clearly there’s a good familiarity and a bad familiarity. The people who rejected Jesus at Nazareth in Mark 6:1-6 were demonstrating the bad familiarity, the kind that leads to contempt. They got bored with being around Him and felt He was “beneath consideration”, showing Him no honor or respect. They left no room to be surprised by Him. As a result, there was a very low ceiling to what Jesus wanted to do there. “He could not do any miracles there…” (Mark 6:5). Their contempt for Him shriveled up the potential for them to see the miraculous. Had they chosen to honor Him and not view Him with contempt, the things that Jesus would have done in there would have left them speechless. Instead of boredom they would’ve been filled with awe and wonder. Their lack of honor shut down a move of God before it even started.
In our relationship with God, there can be a good kind of familiarity. It’s a fine line to walk, but with an infinite God the rules of familiarity are different. We can honor, respect, and revere Him, deeply and intimately know Him, but also be acutely aware of the fact that there is still and always will be infinitely more to know. You can be close to Him and still be surprised by Him. You can be His friend and still be left in awe and wonder. When we love and become familiar with an infinite and limitless God, our familiarity leads us to the conclusion that we will never have the capacity to fully know Him, which leads us into a life of awe, wonder, and most importantly worship.
A good familiarity with God inevitably leads to expectancy. A bad familiarity leads to contempt.
Over the course of this fast, ask yourself “have I become familiar with God in a good way or a bad way?” Let’s desire to become familiar with God in a good way, in a way that invites in and leaves room for God to move.
CASEY BROWN // TBCØ YOUTH
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