rebelling against low expectations

3 Ways to Combat the Sin of Familiarity

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I’ve always known about Jesus.

From the time I was old enough to understand, I learned about creation, the cross, the resurrection, and the power and love of God. My parents lovingly took me to church, and Sunday school as a baby, toddler, and curly haired five-year-old. I recognized sin, and knew it was part of my life. I remember praying a prayer in my bed one morning, a little girl who wanted to “wuve Jesus.”

And then I grew up. Fell in love with Jesus all over again. He’s changed, transformed, and revealed himself to me in ways my once five-year-old self couldn’t have comprehended. I’ve learned, grown, and I’m so thankful for the solid spiritual foundation laid for me in youth.

But somewhere along the way, I lost the wonder of it all. The childlike innocence and awe. The cross and sacrifice of my Savior became a common-place story. It was so deeply ingrained in my heart and mind, that without even realizing it, I became hardened to the miracle. The beauty of the world around me—the intricacy and Divine design of creation, ceased to make me stop and marvel.

I let familiarity infiltrate my heart.

The sin of familiarity.

My sin of familiarity.

And my guess is you struggle with this too. In my conviction, the Lord showed me three things to help combat this common trap of the enemy.

1. Ask God for a greater understanding of Who he is.

Many of us serve a boxed-in God. A God boxed-in by our own hands, that is. We limit him, because of a lack of faith, or a small understanding of his power. We wonder why some people have vibrant faith, when ours feels dull and lifeless. We see others receiving miracles and sharing incredible testimonies, and think “Why doesn’t that happen to me?”

So often, our lack of faith, and absence of wonder, is caused by a lack of understanding. We don’t fully understand God, how he works, and who he is. And truly, we’ll never completely understand this side of Heaven. He’s so great and powerful, kind and loving, completely in control, so wholly God, it’s indescribable and incomprehensible.

I often feel as the Psalmist did, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:6)

I know I’ve barely scratched the surface in my knowledge of him, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know more. I daily cry out as Moses did, “please show me Your glory!” (Exodus 33:18)

2. Pursue time in his presence.

As I said above, you’ll never combat familiarity, if you don’t deeply seek to know God. But there’s another component of knowing him—spending time in his presence.When it comes to God, familiarity is bred from a lack of pursuit, not an excess of knowledge.

When it comes to God, familiarity is bred from a lack of pursuit, not an excess of knowledge. Click To Tweet

And the very core of pursuit is time at his feet. This past year I’ve made time with Jesus a higher priority, and the peace and joy I find with him blows my mind, and chases all familiarity away.

Instead, I’m struck with awe. His presence is my lifeline, my hope, my joy, and I can scarcely believe, as much as I want to be with him, he wants to be with me even more. This daily time with Jesus has shown me that he reveals himself to those who seek him, whose hearts are thirsty for him. To those who pursue him in prayer and worship. Pursuit opens the door to a greater understanding of the essence of God.

3. Open your eyes.

“For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” (Psalm 95:3-5)

The deep places of the earth. The heights of the hills. The sea. Dry land. We’re daily surrounded by evidence of the majesty and awesome power of God. The air we breathe, the ground beneath our feet, the simplest, most common things, reflect the magnitude of his glory.

We ask for miracles. We long to see the greatness of God.

But truly, they’re all around us, embedded in every place and moment.

Stop. Soak it in.

The sun rising in the morning is a miracle.

The breath in our lungs, the beat of our heart—both miracles.

The cry of a newborn baby, and the cycles of the seasons, are covered with the fingerprints of our great and indescribable God.

That the King of the world would care to know us, would die for us, trade our shame for grace, and that he loves us, is the greatest miracle of all. The highest, most breath-taking level of extraordinary.

That the King of the world would care to know us, would die for us, trade our shame for grace, and that he loves us, is the greatest miracle of all. The highest, most breath-taking level of extraordinary. Click To Tweet

I don’t know about you, but I desire to see all of life as a miracle. I long to marvel at things I often take for granted. I want to be brought to tears at the mention of my Savior’s sacrifice, and filled daily with a burning, ever-increasing love for him. Every day I need to fight against the current of familiarity attempting to pull me away from Christ. It’s strong, but he’s stronger still.

Will you join me in this fight? I invite you…embrace the wonder. I challenge you…pursue the One Who’s never stopped pursuing you.

It’s then, in that moment, that familiarity is overtaken by majesty—the majesty of our great King.


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About the author

Sara Barratt

is an 18-year-old speaker and author. Her first book "Love Riot: A Teenage Reawakening of Passion for Christ" releases from Baker Books in Spring 2020. Along with her work on The Rebelution, she also contributes to websites like The Gospel Coalition and Girl Defined. Connect with her on her website sarabarratt.com

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →

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