Content is not Complacent
Proverbs 27:5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the
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I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Many of us have often been told, “Never be content with where you are, always strive for more.” In pursuit of the American Dream this makes perfect sense. Work, work, work, work, work to attain, then once you get it work some more! As American’s we are trained in this ideology from birth. We hear it from our favorite athletes to our most successful businessmen, “Thou shalt not be content!” Too often contentment and complacency are mistaken for one another. Contrary to popular belief contentment is a good thing. God desires us to be content, however He does not desire us to be complacent.
Contentment is having a willingness to accept your circumstances as they are, we often pray this way, “Lord help me to accept the things I cannot change.” This is a prayer for contentment. The reality is that there are and will be many situations in our lives that we cannot change. We may give all of our effort to change the situation but it may remain the same. Presently, I have several friends who are in need of a job. They work tirelessly to find a job day in and day out, with wisdom and tact, however the interviews come and go and they are still without work. As difficult as this may sound this is a situation that is out of their control. They must learn to be content.
Contentment is giving 100% and leaving the results to God. Contentment is not being overly concerned with the outcome after having given every effort you could to gain a favorable outcome. Contentment is putting in your hours at work, crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s and when you finish it is not stressing yourself over the sentence. Contentment is a confidence that comes from knowing that by the grace of God you have done all you can in a given situation therefore you are at peace with the results. We must always remember that the outcome is up to God, not us (Proverbs 16:9).
On the other hand, complacency is being pleased with yourself, for yourself or what you have, or have done. This is coupled with a lack of willingness or desire to change if necessary. Complacency is resting on yesterday’s laurels while trying to get an upper-hand on tomorrow. Complacency gives less than 100% and says, “I will get by, I always do.” Complacency takes for granted what is earned through hard work and labor and blinds its victims to the dangers that are just around the corner. Complacency says, “I will go to heaven because I have done good in my life,” not realizing that Jesus is needed for entry not “good,” deeds.
Contentment and complacency are polar opposites. The contentment that the Apostle Paul speaks of in this verse is rooted in trust. Complacency is rooted in pride. Paul has learned that as long as He walks faithfully with God and seeks His righteousness, the outside circumstances of his life don’t dictate His standing with God. What I mean here is that Paul understands that God is the constant, not stuff. He is content with God, who God is and how God works in His life. His trust is now in God and not in the shaky things of this world. This means that as we walk with God faithfully we are not necessarily cursed when we have little or we are not necessarily blessed when we have much but we should be satisfied with the goodness of God no matter our circumstance, because our circumstance is from God and belongs to God. HE IS IN CONTROL!!! AMEN!!! Paul understands that in whatever situation he finds himself, it is given. Paul is willing and able now to accept it (contentment) because it is from God.
It is important to remember that contentment hinges on walking faithfully with God. If we are living in sin we may well be under divine discipline, we should not be complacent with this. Pray and ask the Lord if your circumstance is from discipline or not, if it is discipline, do not be complacent, repent of your sin and strive to seek Jesus. If it is not discipline pray and ask God to grant your heart the revelation that Paul received. Pray and ask God to give you a content heart. May God bless us all with contentment in all things as we bring our best in seeking Him today!