Complacency: The Imposter of Contentment

Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. In little more than a year you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come. Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist. Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, or the fruitful vine, for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers, yes, for all the joyous houses in the exultant city. – Isaiah 32: 9-11

In the last post, I discussed the virtue of being content. To further understand what contentment looks like, we must be aware of what a false sense of contentment looks like. There is an imposter of contentment called complacency that stifles many of us in our pursuit to Christlikeness. Remember that contentment is being able to see God’s beauty in all areas of our lives including the bad things. Contentment positions you to have satisfaction within your life but complacency parades around looking like contentment while bellowing passive aggressive rants of arrogance.

How do you identify complacency in yourself? Easy. Find the excuses. Complacent people justify being complacent. As a matter of fact, their proclamations of complacency are often laced with false humility and plenty of excuses. They will proudly wear their tattered garbs of unbalanced despair as a badge of honor. I challenge you to think, how does that produce good fruit? Complacency says… I want more for my life but I guess that is not what God wants for me so I will sit in my dysfunction because I have no choice.  Complacent people also blame their lack of forward progression on external factors like other people or situations. These people are also apt to stay comfortable in their sin as well and they may get offended if you challenge them to operate differently. They will justify their actions and pretend to act in humility as if the lack of avert rudeness covers the echoes of arrogance sounding from their heart. Ultimately, complacency is a matter of the heart.

By definition, complacency is marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. Complacency is the predator of dreams and the accomplice of laziness.  Actually, complacency can lead to sin. These are the moments when a bad habit is robbing your of peace yet you are not moving toward healthy habits that can lead to righteous living.  There are many underlying dangers of operating in complacency. The biggest danger is that it makes many Christians ineffective. It makes the salt become tasteless. How can we live to show the glory of God in our lives if we are ineffective. Complacency says, “I’m stuck and I am ok with it.” This is a sin that we see in the lives of the Israelites in the Old Testament. They loved their comfort and false idol worship more than they enjoyed a relationship with God. They were complacent with sin. Even when warned about the looming danger of complacency, they continued to walk in sin because it was convenient and they felt “safe” in their lifestyle.

Be very careful that you do not confuse complacency with contentment. Contentment will allow you to walk in the peace and grace of God. Guard your heart against complacency. Our ability to be effective agents for the kingdom of God is directly correlated with our perspective on complacency. Do not let this trickster of the spirit rob you from accomplishing great things for the kingdom.