The Danger of Spiritual Complacency
The Danger of Spiritual Complacency
“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day or the hour.”
What is the greatest threat to our spiritual life? Some might think that the greatest threat involves committing some abhorrent sin. Others might point to idolatry. Others might point to worldliness or open rebellion against God. For some, it would be the repudiation of the scriptures as the final authority of life and godliness. These actions reveal a heart of unbelief and rejection of God that will result in judgment. Yet, there is an attitude that is far more insidious and dangerous. It is a significant threat because it gives us a false sense of security before God. It feeds our hunger for our spiritual soul but leaves us empty in our faith. The greatest threat to our spiritual life is spiritual complacency. It comes when we think that because we are good, we are good enough.
In the parable of the ten virgins, Christ points to the folly of spiritual complacency. Ten young maidens were invited to the wedding feast of the bridegroom. This invitation would have been considered a great honor to receive. In the first-century wedding, the Bridge group would lead a great procession from the bride's home to the great banquet at the bridegroom's house. At night, torches would light the way to guide the celebration to the marriage feast. As part of the preparation, the bridesmaids would take enough oil to ensure the lamps would burn as long as necessary.
In anticipation of the bridegroom's arrival, ten bridesmaids prepared the way. However, five only brought a small amount, while the other five brought enough for an extended period. In evaluating the actions of the two groups, it is essential to realize that both were given the same invitation and honor. However, the first group showed a lack of preparation. They wanted to be at the feast and even took some steps to prepare for it, but in the end, they showed their complacency by not being fully prepared. They did not refuse the honor or reject the offer to participate in the wedding feast. They were just unconcerned about being ready. They felt that what they had was good enough and nothing more was needed.
When we grow up in the church and learn all the Bible stories, the danger is that we can begin to think that this is all we need to obtain eternal life. We live our lives and go about our day-to-day business. While we acknowledge God and affirm the truths of scripture, we fail to be fully surrendered to him. We know God but never fully realize the transforming power of God. Paul warns of this when he states that some are “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). He goes on to describe these individuals as “Always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (verse 7). In other words, they know the Bible, attend church, and say all the right things but never experience the Gospel's transforming power. They verbally agree with the teaching of the Bible but fail to allow it to change their live.
In this passage, Christ challenges us to do more than just verbally consent to the Bible's teaching. He challenges us to examine our lives to see if we are truly transformed by Christ and living in the light of his kingdom. We avoid the trap of complacency by always recognizing his return is soon and living faithfully in the present so that we would be ready if he were to return today. Instead of making our spiritual life and serving Christ secondary, we make it the driving force. Is Christ just a part of your life, or is he your life?