I was reading in Haggai the other day and it is the absolute perfect example of complacency. If you don’t know what complacency is, it’s defined as “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.” This can be dangerous in the life of a Christ follower.
Haggai 1:5-9 says “Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”
The Jews never had enough because they didn’t place their satisfaction in the Lord. Rather, they placed it in themselves and in their circumstance. Their priorities were completely misplaced.
It goes on to say in verse 9 “You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.“
The Jews spent all of their time and resources rebuilding their own fancy houses while the temple still lays in ruins from its destruction from 70 years ago. So Haggai asks the Jews “are your own houses really of more importance than your allegiance to God?” and gets their priorities in check. So, naturally, they stop building their own houses and begin rebuilding the temple but only do it halfheartedly. It is nothing compared to the glory of the temple that Solomon built 500 years earlier. Haggai’s challenge to the Jews is that it is only by true repentance and covenant faithfulness that their building efforts will result in God bringing His Kingdom and blessing.
Last night, I was at the junior youth group that I lead at and one of the middle schoolers said oh so wisely “when they look for more, they end up having less” during his prayer about people who complain and I was in shock that this is something that a middle schooler comprehends whereas most adults don’t. It was a beautiful reminder that the more you look for satisfaction outside of Jesus, the less you will find.
Someone else last night said “you will always hate your life if you’re the center of it rather than God” and I felt that so deeply. There have been oh so many times in my life—and I’m sure yours too—where I’ve placed myself at the center of my life and after the temporary pleasures and satisfactions and pleasures faded, I began to slowly despise myself. We are not meant to be the center of our own lives so when we place ourselves there, nothing but destruction can come out of it.
But take heart; there is good news. The Lord goes on to say in Haggai 2:5-9 “My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this temple with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this temple (the one that the Jews rebuilt) shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”
Amidst the Jews’ complacency, the Lord still said “My Spirit remains in your midst.” and that is such a beautiful depiction of the God we get to serve. Even amidst the dissatisfaction in Him and even amidst the complacency, His Spirit remains in our midst. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
Rest knowing that even when you’re dissatisfied in Him, He remains satisfied with you. Combat the complacency in your life with desperation for Him and Him alone. Put yourself and your own comforts aside and fully embrace all of who He is and all of who He made you to be. You cannot grow where you’re complacent.
Keep your desperation for the Lord growing. Keep fanning the flame of the fire for Him that is within you. Seek the desire that He has given you to draw near to Him more and more.
If you’re content with where you are in your relationship with the Lord, you’re in a dangerous place. You should always be longing for more of Him. If you’re not, pray that He would give you a deeper desperation for Him. Don’t let a single spark for Him dull within you.
“The soul of the sluggard (complacent) craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” / Proverbs 13:4
So, my question for you is, are you going to crave and get nothing, or are you going to be diligent and be richly supplied? I hope that you’ll choose the latter.