DICTATORSHIP of ROUTINE
I recently read an old sermon by A W Tozer, in which he used the above expression, and stated that he thought it was the church's greatest enemy! As I thought about it I found myself agreeing with him, and would like to borrow some of his information from that sermon for the main content of this article. Brother Tozer has been graduated to glory for many years now, so I have no way to ask his permission, but feel sure he would not object! We are all creatures of habit, and feel comfortable doing things like we have done them before. This helps us to develop our technique, or routine, and can be a real asset to us if we are a tradesman or professional person who can benefit by being experienced in what we do. However for the average person, doing the same thing over and over has certain dangers. Our "routine" soon develops into what we could call a "ROTE", or in other words the ability to do something without thinking about what we are doing, or why we are doing it. I'm sure we can all relate to this scenario----you are in church and the leader says we will now sing hymn # 245, it's a familiar piece you have known for years and probably sang it hundreds of times, so you just sing it by "rote", not thinking about the message, or what the author had in mind when he penned those words many years before. That is what we mean by doing things by rote.
The next stage after rote is "RUT". This is when you know exactly what will happen next, so you never expect anything different. I'm sure we have all been there and done that. This can be especially damaging to personal relationships, such as marriage. If we let our response to the other person become completely predictable, then we could say you are in a rut. It can be a very deadly thing in church services, and if we are not careful it can happen even to the churches that seem to be the most "alive".
The third and final stage is "ROT". This starts out as "dry rot", like in a piece of wood that can be rotten and not show it, but soon develops into full blown rot, that can be seen by all! So our routine can become so familiar it develops into a "rote", which if allowed to persist becomes a "rut", and this in turn becomes "rot". Let's beware of this danger in all areas of our lives as we relate to other people! Remember we who claim the name of Christ, should show forth to the world around us the character of Christ! Paul calls this the "fruit of the Spirit" in (Gal 5:22-23), and allowing "routine" in our lives to digress through "rote", to "rut", to "rot", will certainly not be in line with the Holy Spirit of God who indwells us!