God Will Not Tolerate Complacency

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God Will Not Tolerate Complacency

By, Pastor Randall Floyd, Clayton A/G

Clayton, NM www.claytonag.org

What comes to mind when you hear the word complacency? I must admit that when I read that word in Amos 6:1 (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!), I immediately attached the word lazy to it. I actually began to mentally form a sermon around the concept of laziness in the lives of believers, and how there is no place for it if we are to be and do all that God desires us to be and do. Then, I looked it up, and found that I was somewhat off base. Here’s the actual definition of complacency:

showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements

One word of that definition really caught my eye, especially when I found this great acronym for it – smug: Self-contented Me Uncovering (my) Greatness. In fact, I entitled the sermon this article is based on, “Blessed Are the Smug? I Don’t Think So!” This goes far beyond laziness; this borders on outright self-centeredness, pride, and rebellion – the original sin that cost Lucifer his place among the ranks of God’s angels!

Another word in Amos 6:1 leaped off the page as well – woe. That’s not a word we use much today, and I’m afraid when we do use it we fail to understand the real depth of the emotion it’s describing. In fact, Jesus used in many times in Matthew, chapters 11 and 23, and other parallel passages in the other Gospels. Here is its definition:

great sorrow or distress (it and its synonyms appear over 190 times in the Bible)

God spoke through Amos and expressed this great sorrow and distress over the complacency of the people of Israel. Because things were going well in their nation, they felt that they had no need of God. Oh, they still went through the motions of worship and sacrifice, but God knew their hearts. They felt they had “arrived” at some special place; that God would never consider bringing judgment on them; that because they were doing well materially, God’s hand of blessing must be upon them. How wrong they were. And how wrong the Church in America is today when we feel that we are untouchable just because we have it “better” than most of our brothers and sisters around the world!

So, what else does God have to say about complacency in His Word? Let’s take a look at a couple of passages of Scripture:

Proverbs 1:22-33 – “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. 24 But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, 25 since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, 30 since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

When the Bible speaks of the simple and the fool, it is not speaking of intelligence; it is speaking of moral standing before God. In verse 32, God speaks as the personification of wisdom and says that the simple and complacent are fools who will be killed and destroyed! God will not tolerate complacency in the lives of His children! It will always lead to ruin and death – spiritually if not physically.

In Zephaniah 1:12a, God says: At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent… God does not just sit back and allow complacency to creep along and slowly expose itself. He declares He will search it out and punish those who engage in it. We must guard against taking the credit and glory that belong to Him alone – and that is exactly what happens when we fall prey to complacency – we begin to take credit for what has been accomplished through us and in us, leaving God out of the picture. This is much like the rich man in Luke 12. Take the praise due only to God, and we place ourselves in a very precarious situation!

So, how do we overcome complacency? We find the answer in one of Jesus’ letters to the seven churches found in Revelation. Revelation 2:1-7:

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

The solution is simple. Remember your first love – not speaking chronologically, but in priority. Examine your life and honestly assess your motives, thoughts, and actions – do they speak of Jesus Christ being your first love? Or do other things shove Him off the throne of your life? Keep in mind, Jesus will share the throne with no one, or anything!

Let me relate this point to marriage. When a couple begins to date, they put their best foot forward. They make sure they clean up, dress up, and smell nice. They watch their manners, they carry on over the other person, and go out of their way to make him/her feel special and wanted. Unfortunately, so many tend to stop doing those things once they’ve “put a ring on it”. Suddenly the good hygiene goes out the window, those romantic dinners and walks are a thing of the past, and the “sweet nothings” are replaced with growling and grumbling. For some, this just becomes the status quo, and the marriage drags on for life. For others, it leads to divorce, regret, and a lot of questions of, “What happened?”

It’s the same in our walk with Jesus Christ. When we were first saved we couldn’t wait to read our Bible, pray, and attend church! But, as time goes on, we become nonchalant, all of those things that were exciting in the beginning become chores. Why? Usually because we have become complacent. Let me encourage you today to get your eyes focused back on Him and all that He has done for you – and then allow the Holy Spirit to help you RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE, by once again being excited about the Word, the Church, the Lord, and sharing Him with those around you!

 

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