What was characterized by zeal and passion now is mundane and boring. It can also be defined as a smugness of having reached an acceptable level with a consequent relaxing of discipline and choosing to focus on personal ease because of a lack of motivation, commitment and enthusiasm. This is a dangerous position to be in. David entered into such a lethargic condition by taking the easy option of ‘staying home’ instead of being with his army, choosing instead to cater to self-comfort – which resulted in gross sin (2 Sam 11:1-12:14). Self is always at the centre of sin and the outcome is not God honouring.  

Seeming spiritual achievement can also lead to complacency that is the enemy of growth in righteousness and service for the Lord. Many Christians view their relationship with Christ in this light – having reached a plateau they stagnate and drop their guard, unaware of the potential danger. The Christian life should not be one of constant activity, however, there should always be continual growth in holiness and devotion to the Lord as well as watchfulness of Satan, who is always on the prowl to take advantage of those lax in their spiritual disciplines, slow to take authority over wrong thoughts and adopting habits that once they considered off-limits (1 Pet 5:8). We are in a continual battle against Satan – either on our behalf or that of others for whom we intercede.

Being lethargic is not a viable option for believers as there is always more ground to take for God, both within us and by us, as we “Give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).  Paul said, “I keep pressing on to enter into all God has for me…I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is

What are the areas in my life that need to be ‘wakened out of sleep’?

formed in you” (Gal 4:19; Phil 3:12).  Goals require our ongoing attention and effort to reach.

Moses pointed out to the Israelites before they entered into the Promised Land that success and prosperity could breed a spiritual complacency far more dangerous than failure (Deut 4:25,26). It is a recognised fact that success is more hazardous to our spiritual life than adversity. King Uzziah was marvelously helped by God until he became powerful, then pride led to his downfall and ruin (2 Chr 26:15-23).

Jesus told a parable about a rich fool, who thought he had done enough and could now sit back and enjoy himself as the centre of his ‘world’, yet being only focused on himself was a very warped appraisal and resulted in judgement (Lk 12:16-21). The eternal destiny of people depends on us being vigilant to stir up and use the gift God has given us and actively utilizing it for His glory (2 Tim 1:6,7).  

The concern is not so much in experiencing complacency from time to time but in our failure to recognise it and take corrective measures to regain our footing and making Jesus Lord of our lives. "The complacency of fools [unwise people] will destroy them" (Prov 1:32). Complacency gives a false sense of well-being, that betrays the real

Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit stirring your heart

condition of heart (Rev 3:17). Aware that sin dulls our spirituality we must consistently maintain the spiritual disciplines and not allow Satan to gain the advantage over us (2 Cor 2:11).

See also: comfort, contentment, goals, laziness, motive/motivation, passion, self-satisfaction, spiritual disciplines.