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Content vs. Complacent

July 17, 2013

The battle of complacency verus contentment is one that I have fought for quite some time. It can be difficult to see the line between your own comfort and laziness. This can be dangerous in any aspect of a life, but especially in your walk with the Lord. I have seen this in my own relationship with God, and have been on both sides of the spectrum.

I have recently finished reading Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, and there was one part of the book that struck me in relation to this topic. He shared a lot of wisdom in such basic terms:

I’m not arguing for complacency in or bitter resignation to your present circumstances. I am arguing for what the apostle Paul advocated: godliness with contentment. The two together form “great gain,” he declared. Complacency and contentment are often confused, but there is a difference between the two. Contentment is saying, “God has me here for a reason, and if He never does anything different, I’ll still serve and praise Him.” Complacency is saying, ‘Things will never change, so why bother trying?” The complacent are like wine left with the dregs, like coffee sludge at the bottom of your cup., like the wicked “who say in their hearts, ‘the Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ Nothing is impossible with God, so go ahead and run hard after your big plans and take a shot at your dream job. But remember in almost any job, God can be pleased with your work so long as you are taking pleasure in Him as you do it.

This was such a relief for me to read. It helped me to understand that it is a decision on my part whether to be content or complacent. I often blame the circumstances surrounding my life and use them as an excuse for why I am allowed to be complacent. That is incorrect thinking and I have been encouraged by this book and by scripture to seek contentment in Christ.

The area of my life where this is my biggest struggle is my job. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the same goes for a lot of other people out there. It can be hard if you’re not currently in your dream job…which if you are, you are incredibly lucky. I technically have two jobs right now…one makes me my money, and the other is unpaid doing the kind of stuff that I love. That’s the balance I’ve found and it has made all the difference. It is hard to find contentment in my job at the restaurant because it is definitely not what I want to be doing and it can be really taxing, both physically and emotionally. Anyone who has worked in customer service knows what I’m talking about. Reading some truth on the matter of contentment vs. complacency has really challenged me, though, to see how I can best take pleasure in my King while I am there. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been helping to correct my thinking and train myself to seek God above myself.

In the book, Kevin DeYoung references 1 Timothy 6:6-11. This piece of scripture has also been both challenging and meaningful in seeking contentment in God:

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 

If you’re struggling with the battle of complacency vs. contentment, be encouraged that you can be fully content in Christ. In fact, you can rejoice in that contentment! Keep seeking God in your work, no matter how mundane it can be. We can better serve God and serve the kingdom if we are actively seeking out God in every situation, and finding pleasure in the fact that we have a God who rescues and loves deeply.

*Also, in case you’re interested in listening to some pretty amazing music, check out my new favorite band, Judah & The Lion.

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