Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Battle Against Complacency

Several weeks ago, the pastor at my church talked about not settling for “good”, and deciding to strive for “excellence”. This is an issue that God has put upon my heart, and I now realize how often I stoop to this worldly concept.

When I was still in public school, I could easily make A’s by exerting as little effort as possible. I never had to study very hard, and I never learned what hard work really was. Thankfully, when we started homeschooling, my mom broke me of that dangerous habit. She realized that I was not being excellent in all my work, so she began to change the way I looked at my schoolwork. I am not saying that I am perfect now in that respect, but I do think that I am much better than I used to be. I no longer say, “How can I get away with as little work as possible and still make a good grade?” Instead, I think to myself, “How can I do this in a manner that is pleasing to God? How can I do this excellently?” My mom is not afraid to tell me when she can tell that I have been slacking, and I am so grateful for it. I do not want to grow up to find that I know nothing about working hard.

Why am I so worried about this topic? Because our world has become complacent. If I am to change the world, than I must not be complacent in the least. What if a missionary to Africa said, “Well, I’ve brought four people to Christ, that should be enough,” and then returned to the USA to be a couch potato? Wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of bringing people into God’s Kingdom? I for one, do not want to be in that category of Good-enough-ers (and yes, I just made that word up).

Everyone has settled for “good enough” at one point in their life. We have to realize that we will not ever be respected if we do not work hard to be excellent. I do not want to be known as “lazy” or a “slacker”.

How do we change this? Complacency is not an easy rut to get out of, believe me. It takes determination and perseverance. You must first determine to change your ways and then persevere until you reach your destination. The battle against complacency is ongoing, however, and you will always have to strive to be excellent. Although we will never be fully excellent until Jesus comes back, we must still try while we are here on earth.

It has been said that we should not strive for perfection, since we cannot attain it until we reach heaven, but that is no excuse for becoming complacent. We must still strive for perfection, so that we may glorify God through it. It doesn’t matter if we cannot reach it, we still have to try.

Jesus was here on earth for less than forty years, and He was able to strive for perfection the entire time. Jesus did not settle for “good”. Instead, he strove for excellence. I, too, want to have that reputation. God has put me on this earth for a reason, but He will not be able to use me if I become complacent and settle for less than God has planned.

All of us have to make the decision to resist complacency and strive for perfection, no matter how hard it may be. God did not put us on earth to be “pretty good”. Follow the example of Jesus and pray to Him for strength and endurance. The battle may not be won for many years, but we do know who wins in the end. Make the choice to fight against complacency and not settle for any less than your best.

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