"Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth," said A.W. Tozer.
These days I have been meditating on the book of Amos. What wealth of insights the Lord has in store for His children to learn about His ways! When I came to chapter 6, I was moved in my heart to self-examination, for it reveals three tragic signs of complacency.
One of the terrible diseases of Christianity today is complacency [a feeling of self-satisfaction]. A.W. Tozer says, "Religious complacency is encountered almost everywhere among Christians these days." He also observed, "Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God." I cannot resist agreeing with Tozer. If the world is shattered because of its callousness towards the truth, Christianity is miserable due to its complacency in the truth it has believed.
Let us reflect upon the following brief message with a prayerful heart and allow God to redeem us from this evil of complacency.
The Lord spoke to the backslidden Israel through His prophet Amos, "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!" (6:1)
The Lord was addressing to the people who were self-satisfied in their comfortable zone, who thought secure in their affluence and who felt safe in their strength. These people wallowed in their cozy lifestyle with no desire for God, with no hunger for His righteousness and with no reverence to live according to His Word. They were self-confident and self-sufficient. Thus the Lord warned them about the impending judgment upon them.
How often do we fall into this mire of complacency wherein we live a self-satisfied life and give up our humble dependence upon God for our sustenance! Remember, complacency makes us to feel secure in our job, safe in our strength, good about our knowledge, protected in our money and possessions, eventually leading us to build an ivory tower of egotism.
Complacency also ruins our passion for God. It takes us away from God-satisfied life to self-sufficiency. It makes us to think that we know God better, that we are thoroughly biblical and that we are spiritual enough. It ends the fresh streams of living water flowing through our lives which in fact results from our continuous growth in Christ and keeps only the rotten water in us by ceasing our growth. O, complacency kills our thirst for God, robbing us of the experience which the Psalmists expressed, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God" (Ps. 42:1).
Moreover, complacency leads us to think that all is well with our heart and fails us to recognize our depraved nature. We do little good and think we are good enough. We feel satisfied in our own righteousness and so-called spiritual activities. We may pray, read the Bible, give offerings and participate in church activities, but all these may be done as rituals than out of passion for God and for His Kingdom. These devotional acts may be "like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears" (Hos. 6:4).
The Lord spoke to His people through His prophet Amos, "You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves" (6:5).
When the lives of God’s people were far from their Creator and from His standards, instead of repenting and seeking the face of the Lord, they indulged in worldly pleasures. They didn’t care about their dire spiritual condition but were focused on enjoying the worldly things. They externally expressed their devotion to God in the form of following certain rituals but their hearts were indeed set on the world, on its things and pleasures. They lived for themselves, for their ambitions and for their pleasures. Thus the Lord cautioned them about the disaster that was about to come upon them.
When our hearts are lukewarm in God and far from His commands, rather than going through godly sorrow and turning to the Lord with a contrite spirit, how possible it is for us to give ourselves to more worldly amusements and pleasures! Complacency thrusts our heart to run after the pleasures of the world than after the pleasures of God, to pursue the comforts the world offers than the comfort of the Spirit of God, to seek our security in the things of the world than in the Maker of the heavens and the earth.
Complacency creates discontentment for worldly pleasures and makes us content with spiritual things. It leads us to vigorously pursue the earthly things, leaving us paralyzed in spiritual issues. It produces in us spiritual fatness and lethargy.
How tragic it is to think that we are rich in the spirit when Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit [realize their spiritual poverty] for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). How pathetic it is to amuse ourselves by material things when Christ said, "Blessed are those who mourn [weep over their spiritual dryness] for they will be comforted" (Matt. 5:4). How regretting it is to be passionate for worldly prosperity when Christ said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied" (Matt. 5:6).
If our prayers are examined, would they be found with more repentance, more cry for God and for His holiness or with more petition for earthly blessings?
Now, let us not suppose that indulgence means just going to clubs and pubs, brothels and orgies. We may be good enough not to get involved in such blatant activities. But one of the devil’s subtle temptations is to enslave God’s people, not by things that are considerably evil, but by the things that are seemingly good and let them take precedence over our passion for God.
When the good earthly pleasures become our priority and pursuit [food, fun, television, internet, hobbies…etc], when our mind is dominated by the nice things of the world [work, business, family, friends…etc], when our heart is filled with more delight for material things [money, possessions, electronics…etc]—what could it be if not complacency? Is the Living God, by whom and for whom we exist, loved and pursued above all things?
O, when we are taken captive by complacency, we can never say to God what the Psalmist sung, "Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You" (Ps. 73:25).
The Lord spoke to His people through His prophet Amos, "You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph" (6:6).
When the kingdom lied in ruin, people were self-sufficient, indulged in earthly pleasures and did not grieve over the disaster that has come upon God’s children. They became desensitized to the miseries of the people around them. They lacked compassion for others. All that they were concerned was—personal security, personal comfort and person happiness. Thus the Lord pronounced His curse upon them.
Complacency makes us desensitized. It ruins our compassion for people. It hardens our heart from thinking about the welfare of those around us. It does not let us grieve over the pathetic condition of others. It causes us to stay focused on personal happiness and safety. It drives our thoughts, interests and pursuits to revolve around the globe of self.
When we are complacent, we ignore the pain of other people. Our heart is not moved by looking at the troubles and sins of others. We lack generosity, hospitality, care and empathy. We neglect the helpless and hopeless. We have no burden for the lost. We even care little about the spiritual decay in the body of Christ. Matthew Henry comments, "Those are commonly careless of the troubles of others who are set upon their own pleasures; and it is a great offence to God when His church is in affliction and we are not grieved for it, nor lay it to heart."
If we honestly examine our hearts, don’t you think we have fallen into the abyss of complacency? Don’t you suppose we are self-sufficient in our life, indulgent in worldliness and lack compassion for others? Don’t you think we need revival, mighty revival, tremendous awakening that will lead us to become passionate for God, drive us to love our Lord with our whole heart and mind, and cause us to care for others out of God’s love in our hearts for them?
O, we need revival, that awakening of spiritual poverty for the glorious riches of God! Let us keep seeking the face of God, keep asking before the Mercy seat and keep knocking the door of the heaven for an awesome revival in our lives.
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