Spiritual Complacency

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Levi Durfey




What does it mean to be complacent? Complacency is an indifference or lack of concern toward something. It might be a husband who is complacent about the “Honey-do” list that his wife has laid out for him. Or the student who is complacent about her students. 


We’re all complacent in some way and some things. What we want to look at is spiritual, or religious, complacency. This is a complacency that no one who is a Christian can afford to have.


Over fifty years ago, A.W. Tozer wrote:


One of the greatest fears of the Christian is religious complacency. The man who believes he has arrived will not go any farther; from his standpoint it would be foolish to do so. The snare is to believe we have arrived when we have not…Religious complacency is encountered almost everywhere among Christians these days, and its presence is a sign and a prophecy. (A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous., [Camp Hill, PA.: WingSpread, 1986], 60)


If spiritual complacency was common during Tozer’s lifetime (he died in 1963), you can just imagine how much more common it is today. 


I wonder what he meant by it being a “sign and a prophecy.” The nearest I can figure is that he was thinking of Paul’s words to Timothy:


3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3–4)


Complacency in Christians might manifest itself in many ways. Paul’s concern was that there would be Christians who did not care to hear the Bible taught plainly, but would want something that would satisfy their “itching ears.” We’ve certainly got that going on today with the “watered down” preaching that you can find in many churches.


How else do you see spiritual complacency happening in the church or even in your own life?


Admonitions against complacency pop up all over the Bible. Let’s look at a couple phrases that the Bible uses to both describe and speak against spiritual complacency. The first is… Continue reading