Differences Between Complacency and Contentment

Are complacent or content? There is a big difference even though the two look similar.

Where does complacency put you? In short: stuck.

When you choose to be complacent, you choose to stay right where you are and settle for what you have. Life just is, and you’ve accepted it for what it is.

Unfortunately, many of us mistake a sense of complacency for a sense of contentment. Click To Tweet

The difference is alluded to in the Bible:

“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it!” Ecclesiastes 7:12

Have you ever noticed that a complacent person is always lacking in something? Regardless of the money, possessions, position, or other blessings they have received, their complacency leaves them feeling resigned. A complacent person does what is needed to have more of the same, but not anything better. Complacency says this is as good as it gets – maintain it.

The shelter of complacency is ultimately like one made out of twigs. It keeps blowing over and apart. The one who dwells there spends their days collecting more sticks.

Contentment, on the other hand, says this that’s been given to me is good. What is given keeps on giving. Without bitterness, striving, or anxiety a person who is content has all they need and is sustained by that truth.

As the Proverb says, wisdom is their shelter, and it preserves them. A content person finds their shelter intact and at work preserving their life even when circumstance, doubt, and want threaten them.

Paul describes this place of dwelling as relying on the Lord’s strength:

“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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

Bible verse says that wisdom preserves those who have it. That is a picture of contentment.

The writer of Hebrews also explains:

“Be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

This is the place that content comes from and the reason that we can be content in the first place: our Lord is present. He provides and He assures us that He is enough for us. As a result:

“…there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

When we recognize that all that is in this world is just temporary and, like complacency, is so finite that it all requires endless collecting to maintain, we gain a Godly perspective. We begin to see why we should:

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” Matthew 6:33

The Lord, and the good that He gives, preserves us. Having a right perspective of who is sovereign and how precious and gracious His gifts are helps us to fix our eyes on Him. This sort of contentment in the Lord is a part of storing up treasures in heaven. The very provision that preserves us now, like patience, peace, and joy, these things that we dwell in will remain for an eternity:

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

Don’t settle for complacency with what you have and get stuck in the bitter doldrum of simply maintaining what you’ve got.

Remember the precious gifts of the Lord that last forever and contentment will take over.

{Originally published on My Faith Radio}

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