3. Don’t Get Lackadaisical
Finally, and the exact opposite of the previous two, don’t get so lackadaisical that you are not doing anything to grow in your faith. Acedia – the noon day demon – is real. Acedia can be described as the demon that creeps up on you right after lunch causing you to become lethargic. The problem with Acedia is when given the opportunity the demon will attack at any time. Falling victim to Acedia happens one day, then another, and another, and so on until you find yourself with no interest in doing anything for spiritual growth.
Acedia is another reason to change up your spiritual practices from time to time. I encourage people to not remain with a small group for eternity. Small groups are not meant to be forever groups. In the discipleship model, small groups are intended to grow and reproduce themselves. The purpose of a small group is to make mature disciples who go out and create other small groups of disciples. If no one in the group is growing into Christian leaders (disciples), then we have to ask ourselves, “What is the purpose of that group?”
Change is good. Change brings new growth points. Change helps you to see where you need to stretch, bend, flex, and tighten new spiritual muscles. But more importantly, change keeps you from growing bored and lethargic.
So try something new from time to time. You can always go back to your favorite methods later.
Addendum: In today’s current crisis, Acedia will be even more real as we no longer gather as churches follow CDC guidance. We will no longer have the weekly physical interaction with other disciples to propel us onward. As each week continues, the spiritual practice of church attendance will lose its effectiveness.
Thank goodness for technology (Facebook, email, etc.) It is critically important to continue faith-based conversations across these means. Encourage one another to pray, post scripture references, check-in on each other as you would in a small group. Group pages are excellent for this practice as they can be set up as members only groups. This limits any concerns of sharing too much or worrying about someone not in the group seeing comments. What’s important is that you stay connected and continue to grow in your faith.