“Complacency is the Devil’s word.” – Lewis Allen
I came across this quote while reading Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism. It not only stood out on the page but it burned itself into my mind. I couldn’t shake thinking about it. I couldn’t move past it. Complacency is everywhere. Our churches are infected with it. Our ministries are hindered by it. Our passions are dampened by it.
Complacency is the feeling of self-satisfaction without knowledge or awareness of the dangers or the deficiencies lurking within oneself. Complacency describes the state of so many. They are complacent in their work, relationships, and ambitions, all without realizing that they are headed toward destruction. So many haven’t thought through where this drifting through life is taking them and the answer is nowhere good.
Complacency is dangerous because it is easy. All you have to do is sit back and go with the flow. To go against the flow requires work, and conflict might be involved. To be complacent is to get along. Complacency doesn’t require discipline. It doesn’t require accountability. It doesn’t require action. And because of that, it is all too often appealing to too many of us. But we can’t be complacent. We are commanded to discipline, action, and accountability. We are commanded to watch ourselves and our doctrine closely. Hebrews 2:1 urges us, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” We need to pay much closer attention to what we know to be true so we can live accordingly and not be in a complacent drift.
This is personal
We either are growing closer to Christ and maturing in His ways or we are drifting away. This means we cannot be complacent in our devotional life or our spiritual disciplines. We have to work at them and be in the Word and be applying the truth to our lives every single day. Take a look around the church and you will see many believers complacent in their spiritual growth. They believe and they try to live it out and are satisfied with that, but we are called to so much more. We are called to be conformed to the image of the Son. We are called to strive with all of God’s might working inside of us to become more and more like Christ. That doesn’t sound like a complacent attitude or a complacent walk with Christ. It is Paul saying he is pressing on. It is the saint falling to her knees in prayer every day. It is the bible worn out from frequent handling. It is the life changed by grace and is now lived out for others.
This is relational
Our society trains us to be complacent in how others live. “You do you and I will do me” is the motto of a whole generation. But the gospel doesn’t allow us to be complacent in relationships. We don’t let relationships just drift along; we pursue people for Christ and we build one another up in Christ. This means we hold our brothers and sisters accountable. We seek to be held accountable by our brothers and sisters. We want to stumble together toward Christ in all we do. This is not a complacent community by God’s vibrant loving community.
This is worship
We are not to be complacent and sit back and be presented a worship service. We are to be involved and experience the worship service. This doesn’t necessarily mean any certain movement on our part or look the same for everyone. But it does involve the congregation not being passive but active participants. We are not complacent consumers but active worshippers.
This is evangelical
We cannot be complacent any more and watch people head toward hell and do nothing about it. We pray, we share, we go, we love, and we trust God is working in those around us to bring them to faith. Too often Christians can be complacent with people’s eternity, and we can no longer live in such a way.
Complacent Christians are a win for the Devil. So throw off complacency and follow hard after Christ.
Adam is the lead pastor at River Valley Community Church in Fort Smith, AR. He graduated from Denver Seminar in 2009 with his M.Div. Adam is married to Kacee, and they have two kids, Titus and Jillian.