Familiarity is a curse. Familiarity is the source of many problems in our life. The problem however is that familiarity is not too familiar to many people such that they do not know its effect on their life. Too many marriages are breaking because the couple has become familiar to each other, too many families are being torn apart because children have become too familiar with their parents that they can no longer listen to them, people have lost their jobs because they became so familiar with it such that they could no longer follow the rules and sadly too many people have fallen short of the glory of God because they were too familiar to God. The list is endless.
The word “familiar” comes from the Latin word familiaris, meaning a “household servant.” This means that when you are familiar with someone or something, you regard that person or thing as your household servant. Someone who is at your beck and call and who should respect you not the other way round. This is why in bible times demonic spirits were called “familiar spirits”. The reason was that familiar spirits were intended to be used as household servants. Leviticus 19:31 says “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” In Act 16, Paul & Silas met with a girl with familiar spirits.
Read Mathews 13:54-58. In this scripture, the bible says it was time when Jesus had just finished a revival crusade. He had delivered wonderful teachings and so many people had been blessed and healed. It pleased him to similarly bless the people of his home town. But the problem was that the people in his town knew him too well. They knew that he was a carpenter’s son. They even knew the name of his mother, Mary. They could even name his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. Even his sisters were with them. It is possible that some of those people were his in-laws who had married his sisters. How familiar was that! The sad thing however was that Jesus “did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith”. Familiarity will block your miracle!
Therefore brethren let us not get used to the things of God. In Philipians 2:12 Paul said “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. God’s mercies are new every day. (Lamentations 3:23). In Isaiah 43:19, God is saying “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Unless you can perceive or see a new thing that God is doing you will be stuck in the same all same all. The gateway to change of your situation is your perception of the new thing that God is doing. So you need to be on the lookout for something new! Our cry should be as we sing “Do something new in my life Oh Lord”.
In John 1:43-46 there is a story of a man called Nathaniel, who was supposedly one of the disciples of Jesus. Nathaniel however started his fellowship with Jesus on the wrong foot. The Bible says Philip found Nathanael, and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” But Nathanael asked them “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see”. Although in the following verses Jesus showed his supernatural being to Nathaniel personally, Nathaniel was never convinced in his heart that Jesus was the Messiah because he knew where Jesus was coming from. As a result Nathaniel was never heard since that time.
Familiarity is one of the common mental blocks for the human mind. It closes you out of the reality. It blinds your eyes from seeing the true qualities or goodness of a person or a thing. Our closeness to a particular person or thing or event can sometimes blind us to the full significance of that person, thing or event. Familiarity will cause you to groan and moan over everything. You will worry about your wife, your job, your work, your church, and even your children. Familiarity will cause you to think you could have some thing better. What you forget is that “Grass is always green over the other side”. The bible says be contented with what you have.
Have you ever seen people who became so familiar with their wives and left them only to be surprised that after few months another man has gone for the wife. It is at that point that they see the true beauty of the wife and realise that their problem was familiarity. Some people get too familiar with their church and leave. After going around different churches they come back and realise that they had just been familiar with their church. Do not let familiarity ruin your marriage or relationship.
Familiarity bleeds contempt. When you are familiar with someone you do not respect them. When you are familiar with your spouse you don’t respect him or her. When you are familiar with your boss you do not give them the respect they deserve. And when you are familiar with God you do not fear him. The consequences of such lack of respect are always disastrous.
Read 2 Samuel 6:20-23. Michal was too familiar to David and she thought she had earned a right to rebuke him. The issue here was lack of respect. This is why in verse 22 David said “…But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
Due to his closeness to Jesus, Judas became so familiar to him such that while others were seeing Christ the Messiah in Jesus, he saw a commercial product to sell for gain. The consequence was that he ended up hanging himself and while Jesus resurrected he did not resurrect.
This is why the bible says “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” (1 Peter 2:17-18). Also the bible calls upon husbands to respect their wives and wives in the same way to love their husbands.
Familiarity breeds inappropriate acceptance. When you get familiar with a problem you forget that it is a problem that needs to be dealt with. As a result you do not the passion to seek a solution. In order for you to get to another level you need first of all realise that you are not where God intended you to be. You need to get angry with your situation and change will come.
Read 2 Kings 7:3-8. These men had been sitting at the entrance of the city gate for a long time. They had become familiar with their problem. It was until they discussed it amongst themselves that they decided to move on. You don’t need to get familiar with your situation.
Also Acts 3:2-8 talks of a crippled man who sat at the gate of the temple for so many years. He was so used to his situation that he was no longer looking for a solution but only arms. As long as he was getting money he was ok. Sometimes money is not all we need. We need to understand that integrity and self respect is of superior importance than money.
So how do we deal with the problem of familiarity?
Read Hebrews 2:1-3. The solution is to avoid drifting away. Let us not drift away from the faith that we have in God, the Love we have for our spouses, the respect we have for our authorities. Revelation 2:4 “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” The problem with most people is that we forget our first love.
Let us not be familiar with anyone, any situation and with God.