A Wake-Up Call You Can't Afford to Ignore
The loud, boisterous alarm clock rings in your ears; hit the snooze button.
The wife is upset about a problem that you don’t know how to solve; don’t worry, she’ll calm down and it will be over soon.
Money is tight and you don’t know if you’ll be able to pay the bills; just ignore checking your account and don’t budget because you don’t feel like doing that today.
You get asked to write a blog and it takes you four weeks to actually get started (Sorry Ron!). Yeah, that’s me!
I feel convicted about not doing anything with my life; I’m just trying to get through this week and deal with all of that later when I feel inspired and motivated.
WAKE UP. You’ve been in a spiritual slumber. The spirit of passivity has been active in your life, but you’re not alone in this. Everyone struggles with passivity in some capacity in their life. Whenever I got motivated, it was always driven by performance striving to be something to be pleased with myself or to please someone else. That’s called unloving; just going to call myself out right there. If you were to ask me when it all started, like a specific memory, or how I developed the habit of not giving a crap about the important things, I couldn’t really say. But I will tell you that we are born into sin and if not confronted when you reach the age of responsibility, you have most likely been nurtured in it and it will go on unexposed. It will become second nature; a consistent, encompassing characteristic of your personality and behavior.
You can always tell a passive person from an active, joyful person (notice joyful does not describe being passive). It’s black and white! I know because I used to envy the people (and still struggle) that appear like “they have it all together”. Newsflash, we’re all in a process and I can promise you no one has it all together. But if we continue to stay in that enviness state, we won’t take responsibility righteously. You may say, “Oh, I know it’s my fault and should get off my butt and do something to fix it”, so why haven’t you? “I don’t know…” Right, because if you were righteously taking responsibility you would repent for being lazy and passive and submit yourself to the Father who does not see you as a screw-up who does not get off their butt, but as a Beloved Son of a loving, Heavenly Father!
I consider myself to be the best example I know of someone living life being passive about almost anything, including the easy things like brushing your teeth everyday (gross, isn’t it?)! Yeah, passivity is gross. So let’s dive in to what this spirit and mentality looks like so we can be active about resisting it and living the life we deserve!
My name is Nathan Gascon. For most of my life I have struggled with having a significant lack of motivation and this is my story.
I grew up in, I’ll describe it as a semi-dysfunctional family. There are plenty of dysfunctional families far worse than mine that involve abuse, the use of drugs and alcohol, and the list goes on. My experience looks a lot like most divorced families where the father and the mother end things badly, no mutual closure, just bitterness and resentment. The kids are left to discern for themselves what it means and who or whom not to side with. I chose to be bitter towards my mom, not completely at first, but majority of the slander I would hear would be from my dad and that’s how it started. I was with my dad most of the two to three years we lived in Escanaba, Michigan until my mom’s new husband, my step dad, got transferred to another location with the same job in Ohio. I blamed my mom for taking me away from my dad, who I deemed my hero and best friend. The man who taught me about Jesus, and tried his best to be a living example of devotion and service to the Lord.
We lived there for a couple of years and then we moved to Richmond, Virginia the summer of 2006, now further away from where I wanted to be. I continued into my teen years more angry, resentful, depressed, and pitying my life here in Virginia until I was delivered from my depression during a simple moment of worship at a bible camp one summer. It was my third time going to this camp and so glad I chose to go again. Each time in the past, it had been a weekend filled with Jesus, however I would return home where I was unhappy and life would go on the same as it was prior to camp.
Every year I looked forward to going. I knew God had things planned because I realized three days prior to going that deep down I had given up on being happy and embracing life when I moved to Richmond. I had realized this upon watching a movie titled Pay It Forward with Haley Joel Osment (the little boy that sees dead people, yeah, you know what I’m saying if you’ve seen The Sixth Sense!). My dad decided to buy it at Walmart, never seen it in his life, but what the heck? We’ll just buy it; so random. This was such a deep and pivotal thing to discover about myself because it meant there was choice with this knowledge: Do I seek God’s plan for me or do it I continue living life in misery? I went that weekend and my life was drastically changed in one act of worship.
With hands lifted high, I felt the entire weight of my feelings that I had been holding onto since I was a little boy lift off of my shoulders (like an actual weight, not metaphorically) and feeling filled with the joy of the Lord! I knew this was an answer to my prayers because two summers ago I asked God to let me know in 2 years where he wanted me. I could clearly hear Him say “Nathan, I want you to stay in Virginia. I have plans for you there and this is where you are going to spend your life.” I wasn’t even upset. I couldn’t be upset because it didn’t matter. I finally felt purpose and was commanded by my Father in Heaven to stay put and go home free from depression.
I am not kidding, I oozed positivity everyday, wherever I went. I did things I didn’t dare to do before. I pursued a relationship with a girl I didn’t even know. She became one of my best friends in high school (Jesus gave me a firm no with that blind hormonal pursuit). I started a band that actually wrote music and played shows. I committed to being a full active part of the church I was going to instead of just being a Sunday-goer christian. I tried learning how to skateboard! Did I succeed? No, haha. But atleast I tried something I was interested in! I was the most motivated and driven person, except when it came to my school work. I think I felt so free to the point of abusing the freedom God gave me and not being responsible to the things that should have been priority above the fun I was having outside of school.
It got worse and worse to the point where I almost didn’t think I was going to graduate high school. I got so fearful and went into full performance mode that I relied solely on memorization for the answers to the questions on my exams. I didn’t learn anything, but I thought if I could just remember what the words say to every question and answer, I’d be okay. I barely passed. But who cares, right? Because when you’re in passivity you’ll do just enough to get through something until it’s over and the results are mildly satisfactory. All I cared about was not repeating 12th grade. I seriously lacked maturity because I didn’t have a plan. I had no aspirations to get a degree, go to college, or be anything for that matter.
The only thing at that point that I believed I could do in life was be a touring musician. I applied myself in playing countless shows, traveling to other cities, and recording a record at an actual studio. I was good at being a frontman and people loved our music. I felt worth from that and that only for a long time. But I knew I had other aspirations too. Getting married and having a family was strangely something I was so excited about despite my upbringing. That desire was definitely God-inspired because I had every reason to not want a family.
Guess what happened? I met an amazing woman named Maddi Shay and as soon as we met, she knew she was going to marry me. We met at Identity House and became close friends over the next couple years until in 2014 we started dating. A few years later, here we are married and have a beautiful daughter named McKinley! But getting to this point wasn’t as easy and happy as it sounds. We had left IDH for a few years and this was really hard for me because it was all of my close friends.
Maddi and I tried a couple of other churches and went to one consistently for a while, but were too scared to get to know people and plug in. So we became passive and eventually just stopped going to church altogether. Life started to look really depressing without a loving group of people pouring into us. I began to really hate my job and dread going. Not only that, but we also started to have a lot of arguments week to week, and as a result bitterness and resentment grew within us acting out towards each other.
My passivity led our marriage into emotional and spiritual decay. It is the husband’s job to provide a spiritual and protected covering. I did not make time for me and the Lord to renew my mind and protect us from the temptations of satan. I did not live purely only admiring and devoting myself to my wife, but fell into pornography addiction. I did not treat her respectfully and cherish her the way wives need to feel from their husbands. I screwed up a lot. It wasn’t until we felt the Lord calling us into a new season of growth, now with a baby on the way, that things started to change.
We actually reconnected with Identity House and were slowly getting back to feeling like ourselves again. Back in June, Ronnie gave a pretty hard message on passivity, and it wrecked my life. Like, in a good way. I truly felt for the first time all of the responsibility that weighs on a husband and father for their families’ well-being. I could do nothing but see Ronnie after the message and be counseled through all of the passivity in my life. I must have repented for seven or eight different things that I was being passive about. I can not tell you how much freer I felt! I felt COMPLETELY changed. It instantly changed my marriage because Maddi noticed how different I was. I was happier, less sensitive to things she might say, and very motivated to develop a habit of doing devotion time with God every morning.
But guess what? I still struggle with passivity. It is ongoing battle sometimes, but we must learn how to resist it. You cannot resist something you are not motivated to overcome, right? That’s the vicious circle of passivity. Once you are in it, it can be too tempting often times to just continue in it because you are so used to not caring in the past. Well, if you are a husband or father like me, it doesn’t fly with me anymore. I know there is too much at stake and I cannot allow myself to be so selfish that the lives of my wife and daughter are compromised.
But then that’s something I also struggle with: unloving. An unloving spirit or mentality will manipulate you into putting others first before yourself. Loving others, but not yourself. Sacrificing time for others but never for yourself. And there’s passivity in that too because you know you are not making time for yourself and loving yourself. But instead, you choose to be passive and continue loving others more than yourself.
Even though I struggle with these things on a daily basis, I am still in a way better place than I was a year ago and so is my wife. Could it be better? Of course! We are all working towards the same goal and that is to be like Jesus. If you look at Jesus’ life, he didn’t live a single day passive. He had an intimate relationship with the Father and knew His identity.
Passivity will keep you from discovering your purpose and calling to keep you in the trenches of depression, self pity, and envy. It will keep you from being who you were meant to be and believing in yourself. It won’t change until you decide to make a change and it starts with returning to the Father in humility and repentance. When we are in a state of passivity, we often treat Jesus as our Savior and praise Him for dying for us. But how often do we treat Him as our Lord and Savior? I’ll tell you how often, almost never.
We will give God the glory all the time and say how amazing He is for saving a wretch like me, but we do not practice righteousness the way Jesus went about doing it. When you serve the Lord your God, you wake up with purpose. You prioritize intimate time with Him in worship and in studying of the Word. You make goals within the vision for your life and strive to meet those goals. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this, I AM. But I am working towards overcoming this by being better than who passivity says I am.
Passivity says you are not strong enough. You are not brave enough. You are not dedicated enough. You are not motivated, determined, inspired, and faithful enough.
All of that is a load of BS because to God you are worth it. You are so desired and wanted by the Father to be in relationship with Him. Jesus shed all of His blood to buy you back from the death penalty of sin. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” You are loved and precious in His eyes! YOU are what He looks at and pursues like a groom pursues His bride! You are the bride of Christ. We as the church are His bride. We are so loved and valued, but we don’t live as if we are that special and sell ourselves short. We settle for this pathetic life of passivity. Jesus said, “I came to give life and life more abundantly!”
Do you know what more abundantly meant when this was written in the original greek text? It was translated from the greek word perissos and it is defined as “in the sense of beyond; superabundant in quantity or superior in quality; exceeding abundantly above, more abundantly, advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous,”. That sounds like God wants to bless us an insane amount! He is a good father that wants us taken care of and without any lack.
If that is Jesus’ promise to us, then why do we settle for anything lesser? That’s a tough question to answer, but really it boils down to us being passive about the promises God has for us and keeping ourselves from receiving His goodness. You might believe you are not worthy of it. How else does God have to prove to you that He wants you as you are? He proved it to the point of dying for you. That’s right, you. Not just the entire world. We often come up with the excuse that “Oh, well He didn’t just die for me. He died for everyone.” That’s a flat out lie from the enemy because he does not want you to know your worth. God the Father was thinking of you when Jesus paid the price for your sin and that truth should empower you, not shame you, to believe that you were and still are worth it to Him.
So how do we break free from the spirit of passivity? I’m going to lay out three principles to follow to break free of and resist passivity. First thing is breaking free and it is super easy; repent. It takes a simple prayer of repentance to the Father in the name of Jesus. You renounce and remove it from your life and generations, and then repent from it.
Next is actually walking out the repentance. This is the second principle. Now this is a little harder. Actually, it can be a lot harder for someone who is so used to being passive about everything. It takes responsibility, action taking place actively in your life, and consistently being in the Word. If you mess up, that’s okay! Repent and move on. Soon it will become habit and you will notice a permanent change in yourself. So do not give up on yourself and do not give up on God leading you out of it. It is definitely a process and will take time, but it will be so worth the work you put into living free of passivity!
And thirdly, it takes accountability. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but find an accountability buddy. I don’t care who it is; a sibling, a parent, a a brother or sister in Christ, etc… pick someone you trust and value. Probably someone who is also aware of this in their life and are applying these truths daily. You want someone that is dedicated to seeing you through this process and being a consistent encouragement in your life.
I am going to end this by saying if I, the most passive person I know of, could come out of this destructive sin once, twice, NUMEROUS times, than you can as well. I believe in you because God is faithful in you to overcome this. You are so capable and more than a conqueror. Let’s take this year by storm and experience Jesus’ freedom for us!