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Complacency vs contentment

Aug 25, 2022

Some people might say I’m predictable; when I go out for coffee, I always order the same thing, a filter coffee; it’s not complicated, and I don’t have to worry about choosing from the endless combinations available. It’s become so normal that sometimes I can’t even remember ordering it. It’s like I’m living on autopilot. Do you ever feel like you’re living on autopilot when work or home life becomes so repetitive that the days just roll into each other? Don’t get me wrong, I like predictability; there’s a sense of easiness and stability with it.

Even though it can be comfortable, there’s a spiritual danger to living on autopilot. When you can get by comfortably without giving any thought to your spiritual progress or lack of, you run the risk of drifting into a trap.

I’m talking about the trap of complacency.

Complacency is all about being satisfied with yourself and your surroundings when you know God has more important things He wants to lead you to. It’s a state of stubborn stillness when God wants you to get up and move. In the short-term, complacency can feel good, but the result is not something to be desired. After a while, complacency can settle into apathy and unbelief.

Contentment is being satisfied with where God has placed you.

You might easily confuse complacency with contentment in your spiritual walk with God. They both have to do with finding satisfaction in where you’re at, and often there’s only a fine line separating them, but the distinction is crucial.

I’ve discovered that true contentment has more to do with trusting God when you’ve reached your limits or when He’s placed you in circumstances that force you to depend on Him. That doesn’t mean you won’t experience joy or satisfaction in life or you constantly have to feel uncomfortable. But when you’re content, your satisfaction will be focused on God and on gratitude for what He’s given you. You’ll be conscious of your limitations and intentional about following God’s call upon your life.

Contentment is being satisfied with where God has placed you. 
Complacency is settling for the place God is telling you to leave.

Like most things in the Christian life, differentiating between contentment and complacency requires trust and obedience. For some people, that will mean recognising that you are in the place God has called you to be, even if it’s not ideal. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength, and trust that He’ll sustain you. For others, God could be calling you to step outside your comfort zone in faith and be more intentional as you walk in obedience with Him.

Either way, ask God to help you recognise the difference between being content and being complacent so that, with the help of God’s Spirit, you may live a more joyful and fruitful life as you seek to serve Him.

Leanne McCaughtry
Media & Communications Manager

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