“Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.” -A.W. Tozer
Did you ever wonder how our lives seem to take on the emotional aspects of a roller coaster? One day we are doing so good and then one bad thing happens and we are back down in the dumps. How about our use of money? One day we are sticking to a budget and saving for a rainy day then suddenly it rains, we get behind on the bills and we never adjust the budget. We then find ourselves in more debt than we can afford to make monthly payments on. How about the dieter who looses a few pounds for summer then by Christmas gained them all back plus more? Then there is the smoker who started just to look cool with his friends and 15 years later can’t seem to quit even when diagnosed with lung cancer. How about the kid who grew up in church but when he grew into adulthood walked away from his faith, abandoning his family and friends for a life of crime. In none of these examples life turned out the way they wanted it. The reason these things happen is because of complacency.
Satan don’t have to cause big things to happen to us to get us to ruin our lives. All he must do is lure us into complacency. Complacency is a self-satisfaction, accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers. In other words we get comfortable in deadly situations until things have gotten bad, we just turn our heads and stop up our ears hoping everything will just go away. But there comes a day we have to face the elephant in the room! Now, if we had not grown complacent, we could have faced this problem when it was small. Now that it is so daunting, we went from complacent to complaining! Very few things start out big right from the start.
I once knew someone who had very little financial integrity. He started out simple enough, with a credit card that had a $250.00 balance. He was trying to build his credit. He planned to only buy gas, then pay off the card. For the first month this is what he did until he got into a bind. He needed new brakes and a friend got married and he needed to buy a wedding gift, so he decided that he could put both on the card and pay it off a little over time till it was paid off. While still using this card for gas, the card filled up. For two months he only made the minimum payment until he applied for another card where he transferred the balance. But this card had a $500.00 balance. He now had $750.00 worth of credit and on his salary he could’t afford the minimum payment after he maxed out both cards. Complacency had set in. He still made the same amount of money as when he had everything under control but somehow that available credit became available cash in his mind. Now, it was difficult to make the payment but he never made the shift back to paying the card in full each month. Complacency never shifted him back to his budget! With his car payment and house payment behind, his lack of financial restraint brought him to bankruptcy and a divorce.
If my friend would have adjusted his budget in the beginning with his breaks and wedding gift and set goals for himself he would not be in the shape he found himself in today. When a bump in the road happens we have to adjust. At what point we adjust, is the determining factor of how hard the adjustment will be. Life never remains the same. Financial needs change, health changes, people change, and a long list of other things. There is NO constant. However, if you live your life like nothing changes you will find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless.
About 8 years ago I started a lifelong battle with my weight. I found myself in my mid twenties starting to tip the scales at nearly 500 pounds. A life of complacency had led me down a road that I thought was too big for me to tackle. My doctor stopped trying to get me to loose weight and just started treating my symptoms due to my obesity. Even my doctor became complacent! At a church outing with some of my kids (I am a children’s minister) I found myself short of breath, hurt, swollen, and depressed. I started to realize that I had spent my entire life complacent and had just assumed this was my lot in life. But it was that day I realized I didn’t have to live my life like that anymore! I decided I was going to take charge of my own life and I would beat that giant! I started Thanksgiving day eating less, I told myself if I could do it that day, I could do it forever. Over the last 8 years my weight has fluctuated because complacency reared it’s ugly head. Broken exercise bikes, knee injuries, weight gain, vacations, church dinners, and more would cause a set back and if I am not careful, complacency returns. As of the day of this writing, I am proud to say I have never went back to where I was. I have gained as much as 50 pounds back and lost it again 3 times. However, because I have learned to set limits to my complacency, I do not return back to my old life.
Those same limits I put on my weight gain, I put on my finances, my relationships, and everything else in life. Am I perfect? NO! I have just learned to plan, do, adjust, and repeat! It is the idea knowing things will always change and I have to change with them that keeps me from staying in my complacency. I have to seek God for strength not to fall into that trap. If I eat late at night, I don’t eat much the next day. If I spend too much one month, I tighten up the budget until I’m back on track. If my relationship with God has lost it’s edge, I fast and pray. The key is to set goals and then keep them! When you do fall back into a complacent trap, keep reminders out to put you back on track. Prayer always helps too, just don’t make it your last resort. Only God can give you the strength to make it through.