Study Guides, Leaving Complacency Behind

Leaving Complacency Behind

Newbreak’s Sermon Study Guide is an in-house resource that serves sermon-based Life Groups and/or individuals who want to reflect further on how the message contributes to their spiritual formation. In this week’s study, we talk about the danger of complacency and how we need to take an “endless vacation” from it so that we can press on toward the growth God wants for us!

Icebreakers for Life Groups

  • What vegetable is the most underrated?
  • What is one area of life where you feel you are (or might become) complacent?

Let's get it started!

Think about some oxymorons...

  • Seriously funny
  • Exact estimate
  • Pretty ugly
  • Least favorite
  • Civil war
  • Country music... Just kidding! Nothing wrong with that!
  • Another one? When it comes to the San Diego Padres, a winning season (ouch!).

And one more... “complacent Christian,” because Christians are not meant to be complacent. The Oxford dictionary defines "complacent" as "showing uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements."

How do I push past complacency to experience God’s best for my life?

Read Exodus 3:1–6 & John 10:10

Point 1 – Identify the areas of my life where I have become too comfortable.

When you read Exodus 3 it’s important to remember how Moses got to where he was as a shepherd in the middle of the wilderness. First, Moses’ parents saved him from the genocide of babies in Egypt as he was sent down the Nile River. He was adopted by the household of Pharaoh, where he was raised as royalty, with all the privileges that come with it. But Moses grew frustrated with watching his kinsmen, the Israelites, being oppressed and abused as slaves. So, what did he do? One day he reached his boiling point and killed an Egyptian who was beating one of the Israelites (Exodus 2:11–12). Word spread about what Moses did to Pharaoh and so Moses fled for his life to Midian, which is as it sounds–in the middle of nowhere. Here, Moses led a quiet, complacent life.

This is what complacency does. It causes us to settle.

Let’s be clear. There was nothing wrong with being a shepherd, but Moses was not called to be a shepherd in Midian. Admittedly, maybe Moses did not have a full grasp of what God wanted for him, but that’s where Exodus 3 comes into play. God makes it clear that his time of settling for less than God’s plan was coming to an end.

How might this look for us?

  • Settled for just showing up to church when I feel like it.
  • Settled for just reading the Bible every once in a while.
  • Settled for just praying for a good day.
  • Settled for just letting others serve me.
  • Settled for just loving the people who love me.

The Christian life is meant to be an adventure. If it is not, then the chances are we are too comfortable, and likely–complacent. And the truth is this: God loves you, exactly where you are. Maybe you have “fled to Midian.” God loves you. But he also loves you far too much to leave you where you are.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Why is complacency so dangerous? (If you need more content on this, see our post on this topic.)
  • The “burning bush” was not God’s message but it was God’s way of getting Moses’ attention. Sometimes we need to break the script (or have it broken for us) in order to get out of complacency. When has God gotten your attention by breaking the script of monotony? Is God trying to get your attention right now?
  • Comfort often leads to complacency. However, it doesn’t always have to. Discuss the ways in which comfort is okay and beneficial and where it might lead to complacency. How can you identify the difference?

How do I push past complacency to experience God’s best for my life?

Read Exodus 3:7–14

Point 2 – Open my eyes to what God wants to do through me.

There are certain things that bother you in your life right now that don’t bother other people. There are things that hurt your soul or prick your conscience when you hear about them happening. It may bother you more than it bothers those around you. That’s a good indicator of what God may want to do through you to affect change. For Moses, he was bothered by the mistreatment of his fellow Israelites. Out of all the problems in the world around him, this bothered him the most.

God allowed Moses to see and observe how his people were being treated and Moses did not like it. Moses tried to solve the problem his own way, by killing the Egyptian, and when that didn’t work out, Moses ran. But God still wanted to use Moses to help solve the Israelites’ problem.

God had a bigger mission for Moses. God likely has a bigger mission for you and me, too. God hears the cries of people today, just as He did in Moses’ day. God answers those cries most often with people who are willing to focus on God’s mission for them. Let those things bother you and then be willing to work with God to solve the problem. Pay attention to those things and prayerfully consider how God might be leading you to be part of the solution.

There are a lot of excuses we can come up with about why we can’t accomplish what God is calling us to do. Take all those excuses to God and be honest with Him. He is big enough to handle all of the doubts and fears we may have. When we are honest with Him about them and don’t try to mask or hide our fear, He is able to answer all of the “what ifs” or “but what about’s” we may have.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • What is bothering you in the world around you right now? Have you been trying to ignore that bothered feeling? What do you think God wants you to do about this?
  • Knowing that no matter what else God wants you to do with your life, He wants you to “go and make disciples”, what are you doing to accomplish this?
  • What are the excuses that feed my complacency? Choose one excuse to combat this week. Ask a friend and/or mentor to hold you accountable.

How do I push past complacency to experience God’s best for my life?

Read Exodus 4:18–31 & Philippians 3:12–14

Point 3 – Reject complacency now and step into God’s next.

Moses’ conversation with God during the famous “burning bush” encounter did not simply end with everything going back to normal. Moses knew that God gave him a revelation for his next step–a step that would have God’s blessing and his presence, too. So, he went to his father-in-law, Jethro, and told him that he would be going back to Egypt. He committed to the plan and combatted complacency!

Paul, too, addresses complacency and gives us some things to think about (see Philippians 3:12–14). We have written about these observations and some challenging reflective questions in this week’s post.

This truth is for all of us. There is always a next step in our faith journey. The question is, will we walk in it? Or will we settle into complacency? Only you can decide!

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Read the blog post on “combating complacency” (above). Which of the three questions to ask yourself most resonates with you at the moment? Why that one?
  • What is the “next step” God wants you to take? How will taking this step impact your life?
  • What hindrances or fears are keeping you from taking that next step? How can you speak to those with courage and faith so that you are inspired to take it?

Memory Verse: Philippians 3:14 (NLT) I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Final Challenge Questions

  • How are you going to think or live differently in light of what you have read, heard, and discussed this week?
  • How does this week’s message shape or nurture your relationship with God?
  • BONUS: For those of you with kids or around kids: What is one truth from this message that you can share with your kids in a way that they would relate to or understand?

About Our Current Series

The Summer season is known for a few iconic things: Sunny days with late evenings sunsets; barbecues with friends; cooling down in the ocean or pool, and of course–vacations. It’s well established that most families take a vacation during the summertime. And while in the peak of it they might even think: “I wish this vacation would never end.” There is something to be said about having an endless vacation, but we are not talking about never returning to the rhythms of home and work. We mean that some things are worth not just a one-week break, but an “endless vacation.” In this sermon series, we will unpack what things we should leave behind–for good!

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