One dictionary defines complacency as: “A feeling of satisfaction with yourself or with a situation, so that you do not think any change is necessary; the state of being complacent1.”
This sin of complacency is what destroyed the Israelites from enjoying the fullness of the Promised Land of Canaan. Joshua asked this question to them: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you” (Joshua 18:3 NIV). Their failure to take possession of what God had given them was due to complacency.
They were happy as they were. They did not want to conquer further. You have to remember that God had already given them the land. But it was their duty to take possession of it. Sadly, they were complacent and failed in their duty. That meant that they failed to fully enjoy what God had already given them. Instead many perished.
Are you not in a similar position today? The Bible says: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are `Yes’ in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20a NIV). The question is how many of these promises have become a reality for you? Remember, already they all have been given to you in Christ. If you are not enjoying any of these promises even now it is only because of your complacency in claiming them.
This attitude is dangerous. For in Christian life if you do not move forward you are moving backwards. Every new day is an opportunity to move forward. So is a new year. If you fail to move forward, know for sure that you are moving backwards.
If you look back and find that you have remained at the same position for many days then think again. You have been complacent. This year God may not permit you to remain so. Remember the warning to the Church in Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth . . . Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Revelation 3:15,16,19 NIV).
Let this year be a God-given chance for you to repent of your complacency. If you do not do so God will rebuke you and discipline you. This is not to take revenge on you, for “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10 NIV). But this is a sign of His love: “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10 NIV).
This passage further tells you that no discipline is pleasant but is painful. But later it brings good. It therefore exhorts you to strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. In other words; get out of your complacency.
The Bible Speaks on Complacency
Proverbs 1:32b NIV — The complacency of fools will destroy them.
Isaiah 32:9,10,11a NIV — You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come.Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure!
Ezekiel 30:9a NIV — On that day messengers will go our from me to frighten Cush out of her complacency.
Amos 6:1a,6,7 NIV — Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria …You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.
Deuteronomy 28:47,48 NIV — Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.
Zephaniah 1:12 NIV — At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, “The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.”
A few points on complacency emerge from the verses above:
God will punish complacency.
Complacency comes out of a false sense of security; especially security in riches and comforts of life.
Complacency comes from the false thought that God will not interfere in your life in a good or bad way. This thought is wrong and deceptive. God will not leave you in complacency for long. He will discipline you.
It is easy to become complacent during times of prosperity.
Complacency can destroy you.
New Year Prayer
Forgive me because I have been complacent in the past year. Lord, help me to seek you more earnestly this year. Wash me and cleanse away my sins with your precious blood. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to spend time with your Word. Help me also to spend time in prayer with You. Give me boldness and grace to share with others about You. Amen.
1. Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary.