Tozer on Complacency

In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer begins by encouraging fellow believers to “follow hard after God”.

From the beginning, he talks about being deliberate to encourage this longing–but also recognizes that there are “foes” that seek to stunt this process. He writes:

“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.”

Photo credit: Eduardo Amorim (Creative Commons)

In the early stages in my walk with Christ, I was not deliberate with my faith. I felt “close” only when it was most convenient to me.

I’ve learned over the years, however, that sometimes my faith can struggle, doubt, and wrestle… and still be focused on Christ. That is okay.

Tozer then goes on to write that “faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze [at God]”. Our faith is a work in progress; continually being transformed into His image.

Personally, complacency is one area that seems to re-surface in my life — probably because I don’t always see it coming. When complacency sinks in, you don’t necessarily see that anything is wrong (and that can be deadly!).

::

What “deadly foe” have you been faced with in your life?

39 Comments

  • Tony J. Alicea

    October 3, 2011

    I love Tozer. He’s one of my favorite of all time. This was one of my favorite books of his.

    I would say my deadly foe has been pride. I wrestle with it in various ways in my life. It manifests itself in different ways at different times in my life.

    It’s sobering to know that God literally “opposes the proud”. That’s something I have to remind myself of on a daily basis.

    Reply
    • Moe

      October 3, 2011

      I’m with Tony on that one. Pride is the sucker that likes to put it’s hand in my back jean pocket and pump me up for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes I just want simple, naked faith.

      Oh, and Tozer is one of my favorite authors. His wisdom and more than anything, his spirituality is very clear and evident in his writing. Have you read “I talk back to the devil”? Excellent. Highly recommended.

      Reply
      • Dustin

        October 3, 2011

        Haven’t read that one – will have to check it. Simple, naked faith? Oh, Moe…

        Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      This was the second time I read the book – felt like I took away more this time around. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on pride – I catch myself thinking that way as well. And it’s not verbal – it’s inward, prideful thoughts…

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    October 3, 2011

    I have to agree with you this – I think my deadly foe is complacency. It’s easy for me to get to a level with God and then settle in there. I don’t want to, but when you are surrounded by college kids who aren’t necessarily at the same level as you spiritually, it’s not easy to see the areas where you are complacent.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      Good point, Jason – the importance of surrounding ourselves with other people who challenge and ‘sharpen’ us is huge..

      Reply
  • Dan Black

    October 3, 2011

    I have personally noticed I have been complacent. I have started to refocus on my priority’s, the biggest one is with my relationship with God. The Tozer quotes are great ones. Thank you for sharing this post!

    Reply
  • Jim F

    October 3, 2011

    One of the study’s I am doing is in Hebrews and Hebrews 2:1 says – We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. That is complacency – it is drifting away – slowly and easily and we never recognize it. It too is my deadly foe and something that I have to battle against.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      Thanks for sharing, Jim – think you hit it the nail on the head with that comment right there.

      Reply
  • Ally Garner

    October 3, 2011

    Lack of Holy desire. That phrase stands out to me. With just a moment’s self-examination I can certainly see that i’m guilty of lacking a Holy desire on a consistent basis. And it likely manifests from my regular battles with pride, complacency and self-centeredness to be honest. Gulp. While Oswald Chambers’ writing has challenged my relationship with Christ, not other Theologian makes me see my struggles with sin in a more “in your face” humbling way than AW Tozer.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      … in your face humbing. >> oh, I like that. :)

      Ally, I hear you with self-centeredness as well. I think complacency and it seem to come hand in hand (so focused on ourselves we don’t realize where we’re going).

      Reply
  • Arny

    October 3, 2011

    Laziness dustin…

    Laziness sometimes puts it’s sword to my throat and is ready to strike!!!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      Dude, I can get lazy as well. A friend of mine told me two words once that have stuck with me for years: “Just act.”

      Reply
  • Gary

    October 3, 2011

    Complacency is a great word to describe my “Deadly Foe”
    As a worship leader I think I can sometimes allow the compliments and positive feedback get to me a bit and I tend to step of the Gas a bit when seeking Gods heart for Set Lists ETC.
    I rely heavily on Gods anointing being a bit low on confidence. But God is Great and can overcome my complacency, luckily I have a great team and the bring me back quite quickly!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      Thanks for the comment, Gary. Confidence will come… especially when we realize that we can’t do anything on our own to begin with. :)

      Reply
  • bill (cycleguy)

    October 3, 2011

    How did you know Dustin? Maybe it isn’t complacency but not sure what else to call it. Maybe a disconnect?

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      I think complacency can lead to feeling disconnected. Thoughts?

      Reply
  • Cindy Holman

    October 3, 2011

    My deadly foe is negative self talk and listening to negative unintentional remarks from my parents who still think of me as a child. Very tough to work through.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      Sorry to hear that, Cindy – words of affirmation are so important (I’m actually learning about that right now). Grateful we have a Father who speaks truth into our lives every single day, right? :)

      Reply
  • chris vonada

    October 3, 2011

    I always think of complacency like being a “luke-warm” Christian, I liked your take on this one! Another deadly foe? For me, gullibility is a huge issue and sin that I’ve been able to better wrestle with, with some help from good friends and God’s word. Thanks Dustin!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      Yeah definitely. Having a lukewarm heart leads to half-hearted commitments; apathetic and distant.

      Reply
  • Loren Pinilis

    October 3, 2011

    It’s amazing how we confuse contentment with complacency. Complacency is a big foe of mine as well.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 3, 2011

      That’s interesting, Loren. Never thought of it like that — but something we can confuse, for sure. I might say, “I’m content right now”, but in reality I’m unwilling to be changed…. which leads to… :)

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    October 4, 2011

    God has revealed to me recently that I have an inward pride issue. It is not the words that I say that are prideful–it is the thoughts that I think. God is working on me–and I am glad.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 5, 2011

      Thanks for sharing, Matt

      Reply
  • Joseph

    October 4, 2011

    I’ve never read any of Tozer but I follow him on twitter…

    My foe recently is not knowing exactly what I’m called to do. I know that sounds kind of crazy. But Over the past few years I feel like I have been, in a way, up and down. Not in my faith but in my calling. One month I feel like I’m called to do “this”. Then the next month I feel like I’m called to do “that”. I’ve been in a season of learning recently so I feel like I’m starting to get a better vision of what God has called me to.

    Good thoughts Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 5, 2011

      Maybe a measure of uncertainty or trusting God’s prompting? Either way, that can be a difficult spot because ‘vision’ (or whatever you want to call it) is so important. Thanks for sharing, Joseph.

      Reply
  • Ryan Tate

    October 4, 2011

    Yesterday I found an old torn note card inside a book I hadn’t picked up in over a year. I had written on it: “Complacency: a smug, self-satisfaction that hinders my communion with God, my wife, and my kids. It is not laziness, but a false sense of satisfaction.” I took the note card and started using it as the book mark for the book I’m currently reading.

    And then I read this blog post today…there are no coincidences with God.

    Reply
    • jbussell

      October 4, 2011

      “False sense of satisfaction.” That is a great definition of complacency. If you don’t mind, I may take your idea of putting that on a card and using it as a book mark. Great idea!

      Reply
      • Ryan Tate

        October 4, 2011

        I don’t hold the patent on inspirational bookmarks, so go right ahead!

        Reply
        • Dustin

          October 5, 2011

          Excellent. Loved reading that Ryan. Like Jeremy said, that is very well said — appreciate you sharing that.

          Reply
  • Tom

    October 4, 2011

    Thanks for reminding me of this. I certainly face complacency in the moments. I allow cares of this world and mammon to distract me and my attention to God. I seems my deadly foe is mental laziness where I lack intentionality and allow the tyranny of the urgent to direct my waking hours… I appreciate the awareness to be intentional in Him. Bless you.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 5, 2011

      I think that’s exactly what it is: unrealized distractions. Our focus has been diverted from God and instead now pointing at ourselves…

      Reply
  • Jon

    October 4, 2011

    Honestly, needed to read this one today. Complacency is definitely one thing that resurfaces for me. Sometimes, I let things just get in the way of my walk. Like you said, though, it’s a work in progress.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 5, 2011

      Cool, well I appreciate you always reading Jon – we’re alike in a lot of ways.

      Reply
  • Ricky Anderson

    October 4, 2011

    Struggling with my doubt shows I’m thinking about my faith and what it means.

    Complacency shows I’m thinking about me.

    That’s an area where I always struggle as well.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      October 5, 2011

      >>> “Complacency shows I’m thinking about me.

      Exactly.

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    October 7, 2011

    I don’t know that it’s complacency, but lately I’ve noticed how easy itnis for me to go thru the motions and get stuck in the routine.

    Reply
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