War is brutal. The attacks from the enemy come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. In physical battles, each side prepares strategies, gathers manpower and weapons, and readily plays both offense and defense when needed. Various weapons cause different levels of destruction, but every strike poses a serious threat. We often think of a spiritual assault as something done toward us, something that we can visibly see and recognize as an attack. However, our enemy is more cunning than that. He disguises his attacks in a way we do not recognize. One of these cleverly disguised attacks is complacency.
The enemy often uses the lie of complacency and calls it “rest” or disguises it by worldly busyness. Merriam-Webster uses two definitions for complacency: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies and an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction. When we become complacent, we are satisfied with our position but unaware of the deficiencies that are present. Complacency is the lie that says that we do not have to continue growing, pursuing, serving, worshiping, and fellowshipping. We grow complacent when we stop seeking God daily and instead chase the temptation of satisfaction in the world. Revelation 3:15-17 describes this as a complacent believer: “I know your works, that you are not cold or hot. . . because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, and poor, blind, and naked”. The church body has become complacent in her walk with the Father.
In Merriam-Webster, diligence is characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort. In scripture, God gives exhortation to be diligent in spiritual growth. II Peter 1:4-10 gives a step-by-step process to spiritual growth accompanied by earnest effort with the promise that we will never fail nor be unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus. To throw away this lie of complacency, we must grow. We must intentionally nurture our walk with Christ by adding to our faith, works, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.
“Oh, but in the middle of this busy season of my life, I just don’t have time to commit and be as diligent as I was last year”. Okay, let us look at a Biblical example for direction here: the story of Daniel and the Den of Lions. To make a long story very short, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions when the king was tricked into declaring a decree that no one in the land could worship anyone but him for a set amount of time. Daniel worshiped God anyway and was thrown in with the lions only to be saved by God. See Daniel 6 for the true and full story. The point I make here is this: Daniel remained diligent even when His actions were declared illegal. (Daniel 6:5-9) What’s our excuse? “But Daniel was punished and thrown into a den of lions for his disobedience”. Right again but remember, that is not the end of the story. When we read through the full story of Daniel in the den of lions, we see God using Daniel’s unrelenting diligence and circumstances to reveal Himself to the king of Babylon. Not only was Daniel blessed to prosper but God worked in the heart of the king to give him awareness and understanding of God’s presence and power. (Daniel 6:14-28) Ultimately, that is the purpose of our call to serve and worship, so the One True God will be known and glorified. Does our diligence in serving God daily secure an easy and uncomplicated life? Not at all, but it does place us in a position to see where God is already at work and join Him.
"We must intentionally nurture our walk with Christ"
To crush the lie of complacency, we need more than attention and admiration for the Word, we need application. The church has deceived itself into believing that church attendance is the peak of Christian existence. James 1:22-25 urges the Church to be more than a forgetful hearer, but to be a doer, with the promise of blessing for good works. We must be a sponge in this case. Like sponges, we should be soaking up all the knowledge of God and His Word as we can, and we should also be pouring it back out in service and deed. A sponge that only holds in the water will eventually become mildewed and soured and good for nothing. Likewise, what good is all our hearing and reading if we do nothing with it? What good is the body of believers that does not spread the goodness of God on the other six days of the week?
It is through this diligence to grow, to learn, to apply that we will find peace, joy, blessing, and rest. In complacency, we will only find mediocracy, unfulfilled desires, and empty satisfaction. Our enemy wants to place us in a position where we feel safe. Diligence allows us to abide with Christ (John 15:5), to walk humbly (Micah 6:8) to persevere (Galatians 6:9), and to find true restoration (Matthew 11:28). It is time for us to throw off the excuses and the false contentment to seek real satisfaction and peace.
by: Logan Lanier