One of the greatest dangers in the Christian life is complacency. Contentment in Christ is to be sought after and celebrated. Complacency in Christ, however, is very different.
Christian contentment means that no matter what happens, you are fully satisfied in Jesus. Christian complacency means that no matter what happens, you are fully self-satisfied with your current personal effort in pursuing Christ.
Complacency is Dangerous for Christians Because It Means You Are Not Growing
Webster’s definition of the word “complacency” is: “a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” This sound like a very dangerous place to be if you are a Christian.
The Bible makes clear that Christians are never standing still. They are either growing or backsliding. After listing some of the qualities every Christian should have, Peter then states, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). In other words, if you are a Christian who is complacent with your growth in God, you are in danger.
The Danger of Complacency Is that It Causes Us to Live Off Our Past Victories
Christians are to seek Christ, and when we do he causes us to have victories. The danger comes when we begin to rely on our past victories rather than Christ. Complacency tempts us to remember our past laurels while we should be looking ahead to the next battle God wants us to win.
So often we can experience the power of God in our lives and then assume because he acted like that in the past he will always do the same in the future. We begin to become comfortable in our faith in a bad way (complacent) when we think of the past and then no longer seek God in the present and future.
Complacency Hinders the Christian’s Prayer Life, Which Is Extremely Dangerous
No matter who you are, no matter what God has done through you, no matter what amazing ministry you have been a part of, you are only as powerful and useful as your current prayer life. For example, King David did amazing things before his sin with Bathsheba. He was anointed by God, won many victories, and had been a great king to Israel, but none of that prevented him from committing adultery.
If you’ve been going to church for more than a few years, eventually you will hear about a Christian leader of some prestige having a moral failure or even renouncing the faith. The confusing thing about such situations is that even though these Christian leaders turned, they were also used in great ways by God to bring glory to himself. Does a personal failure by a pastor negate all the good God did through him in the past? No, it does not. It does, however, prove that past pursuit of God will not sustain us through the present and future. Odds are, before this pastor’s moral failure, he first had a prayer failure due to his complacency in Christ.
We must seek God always, continually, praying about everything at all times – even after the prayers in our past were answered or after we experience some great move of God through us.
To avoid running the race in vain, we must remember that we are only as useful to God as our last meaningful time of pursuing him. Distant pursuit of God during one magical season in life is not going to cut it. We must seek him new every day if we are to finish the race strong.
Contentment in Christ is one of the main goals for the Christian. Complacency, however, is truly dangerous for the Christian. Let’s pray the Holy Spirit will protect us from the dangers of living in the past while forgetting God in the present. The only cure to complacency is a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ.