I think the most heartbreaking attitude I see from many of my Christian acquaintances is complacency. When it comes to their own soul and spiritual concerns, “It doesn’t matter;” “I don’t care.” They don’t say those exact words. Yet, they are obviously satisfied with themselves and relatively smug in their current spiritual condition. Pastors. Pew sitters. Ministry leaders. Missionaries. Young. Old. None are exempt. Why put out effort when I’m good to go? Some even find a false theology of grace that accommodates their complacency allowing them to dawdle towards eternity. Complacency wipes out a vibrant soul. Are you spiritually complacent?[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
Much of my ministry has dealt with such spiritual complacency – in myself and in others. I’m tired of it, actually.
Complacency can be described as a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements; self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies; unaware or uniformed self-satisfaction; a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation or condition; happy with one’s self and unconcerned.
Synonyms of complacency include: smugness, self-satisfaction, self-congratulation, self-regard, triumph, and pride.
Apparently, there are at least two dimensions to being complacent –
1. Self-satisfaction – the self or ego is central to the problem.
2. Unawareness of dangers or deficiencies – indifference to one’s own sin and negative passions or lack of concern for the subtle impact of the world, flesh, and satan on one’s soul.
One prophetic passage describes complacency (in this case, on the part of the nation of Israel) that can be applied to all of us:
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria…Woe for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! Therefore, they shall now be the first to go into exile, and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away. (Amos 6.1, 3-7)
From Israel’s experience we see that calamity comes to those who –
1. Settle for being secure and comfortable, happy and entertained, and have an over-abundance food and drink.
2. Are not grieved over their sinfulness, aware of their potential ruin, and attentive to their propensity to ignore God.
Senior Demon Screwtape teaches his apprentice-nephew Wormwood on a way to destroy his Christian target, “the Patient:”
“If you can once get him to the point of thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point,’ you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all – and more amusing.” (C.S. Lewis,The Screwtape Letters)
Have you settled for a “moderated religion” or does your heart long to know God more deeply? Are you complacent about the condition of your soul or are you diligent to live in repentance, seeking God with your whole heart?
What do your actions say about your response to complacency?