the weblog of Alan Knox

Contentment, impatience, and complacency

Posted by on Mar 2, 2010 in discipleship | 5 comments

This morning, I met together with a group of guys to talk about life and Scripture and God and stuff. We didn’t have an agenda or plan, other than wanting to spend time encouraging one another in our walk with with Lord.

At one point, a brother read from Psalm 27, and we talked with “waiting for the Lord.” This led to a discussion about contentment and Hebrews 13:5-6 and the issue of contentment.

As I was thinking about contentment and waiting for the Lord, I realized that sometimes I get impatient and move before he tells me to. At other times, I get complacent and don’t move when he tells me to. I’d never thought about the connection between contentment, impatience, and complacency before.

What do you think?


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  1. 3-2-2010

    Somewhere between contentment and impatience there is another “something.” Maybe we can call it “contented discontent” or “peacefully impatient.” I think it keeps contentment from becoming complacency, and sounds something like this in practice:

    Acts 15:36
    And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do.

    1 Thessalonians 3:5
    For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

    II Cor 2:13
    I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

  2. 3-2-2010

    I think the finding the right balance is tricky. I remember times where I was waiting on the Lord and perhaps missed what He was telling me to do. I also have many more times where I was doing things, good things, in the church that He had not asked me to do. I like to think that I listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and only do as He directs me…but I think my contentment or lack thereof sometimes influences what I hear.

    How does this line up with the theology that we are new creations in Christ? If the old is gone and we’re now new creations, why the struggle with hearing, following and listening?

  3. 3-2-2010


    Actually, in the passages that you quoted, I would call that attitude and action “contentment.” If they stayed in place after God was trying to move them, then that would be complacency.


    It should would be easier if he would just destroy the old man so I wouldn’t keep putting him back on.


  4. 3-3-2010

    Do you think this is what 1Cor 1:18 is about? Us who are being saved…does that speak of the process of being transformed to the image of Christ in your opinion?

    I agree, if I could leave the “old man” in the grave this listening and following thing would be much easier.

  5. 3-3-2010


    Probably… we were saved, are saved, and are being saved. 🙂