Contentment Is Not Complacency

For a variety of reasons, I feel like my life is at a crossroads right now and I have some decisions to make. But I don’t know yet what those changes should be. In the middle of uncertainty, it’s easy to become discontented, paralyzed and complacent. But that would be foolish!

Instead, in spite of the uncertainty, I’m seeking to be content in my circumstances. Yet at the same time I’m looking to the Lord to guide me into my next steps. Being complacent would get me nowhere but frustrated and would certainly damage my situation and perhaps that of those around me.

The writer of Hebrews urges us, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)

Paul also wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)

Some might think that contentment runs contrary to ambition and the desire to excel and achieve even more. But this not at all what is meant by contentment. Contentment and complacency share no common ground.

Contentment is being at peace with where God has us right now. Being content means that we’re in a state of trusting God to meet our needs and we enjoy a quiet relaxation knowing that He has everything under control. When we’re content, we’re thankful to God and acknowledge His sovereign and gracious provision for all things.

But contentment is not complacency. Complacency is failure to act when we should. Complacency means we accept the status quo in spite of the fact that we know God wants us to do something about it.

Complacency represents the kind of faux-faith that James describes. It’s a faith lacking substance. A faith with no action is no faith. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)

Instead, Paul urges, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV) And, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Perhaps you find yourself in midst of change as well. Let’s demonstrate our trust in God through contentment and reject complacency as faithlessness and disobedience.

©2017 Rob Fischer

Are You Coasting?

Have you ever felt like you’re coasting in life? I have. I describe coasting in life as: a phase in which we find ourselves complacent and unmotivated. We’re content merely to rely on our past efforts. And the worst part is that we’re comfortable with that.

Coasting requires no effort. We’re simply “going with the flow,” following the path of least resistance. In the coasting metaphor that path is always downhill. We’re on a descent usually to something undesirable and often to something not honorable.

I’m not talking about a brief rest from our labors to recharge. The coasting I’m talking about is deceptively tempting because it’s so easy. Coasting is momentary pleasure at the expense of past effort and future advancement.

Coasting deceives us into thinking that we’re simply maintaining. But coasting has a way of using up very quickly any summit we had gained. The heights we may have struggled to achieve, we so rapidly lose when coasting.

When we are coasting, we are not in control. Gravity is. We are yielding to other forces that pull us downward. And we willingly allow it. Coasting may feel fun and rewarding at first. This is part of its deceptive lure.

A truism of all coasting is that we eventually come to a standstill. We run out of “hill” as it were and find ourselves immobile at the bottom. This is not a good place to be if we want to go somewhere and achieve something worthwhile.

Solomon, incredibly rich and powerful, could have easily succumbed to coasting. Instead, he challenges us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV)

Paul, as an old man and chained in a Roman prison, could have easily given up and coasted. After all he had accomplished so much for God’s Kingdom. Yet he urges, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)

  • What challenges are you currently facing?
  • Where is your life out of balance?
  • In what areas would you like to experience greater fulfillment in life?
  • What dream for your life would you like to see realized?
  • What significant goals would you like to pursue?
  • What is God calling you to?

Never give up! You’re not alone. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)


© 2013 Rob Fischer

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