How to be content without becoming complacent

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

The great pianist Ignacy Jan Padrewski achieved tremendous popularity all over the world around the turn of the 20th century. Yet, said Padrewski, “There have been few moments when I have known complete satisfaction, but only a few. I have rarely been free from the disturbing realization that my playing might have been better.”

Padrewski was renowned as a near-perfect piano player. Yet he remained largely unsatisfied in his abilities and always continued working at improving his talent.

There’s a difference between contentment and complacency. Contentment is found in the biblical promise, “I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1), meaning God fulfills us with everything we need. Complacency, however, is the notion that we’ve reached and achieved everything, and there are no more areas in which we can grow and learn.

Contentment is good. Complacency is not. In fact, when we read Scripture, we see our heroes of the faith are always growing, always learning, and always pushing themselves forward. Be content, but not complacent. Realize that God has given you everything you need. But use what God has given you to continue growing and learning all the days of your life!

Prayer Challenge

Pray that God would bring about contentment and remove complacency in your walk of faith.

Questions for Thought

What attitude is really at the heart of the idea that we don’t have any growing or learning left to do?

Think of one area where you could take steps to grow and learn. How can you make progress in this area over the next few weeks and months?