In case you want to know. Because it’s very powerful to be smug, or complacent. You can do whatever you want, if sufficiently self-satisfied.
The easy path to smugness: do the right thing.
It does not need to be often, simply often enough for you to notice it.
I found this out myself driving home after doing something for church (self-serving glow). It was 7am (increase glow). Approaching traffic lights I heard the voice in my head, ‘Even if the lights change now, I’m going through.’
I’d done enough – well, I’d done something – and used this to give myself some moral leeway. Obviously, God owed me one. I’ve proved I am better than average, so I have licence to return to average (or worse).
All of this is crazy talk.
And it’s ever been a temptation for the people of God. God gave clear warning through the prophet Amos.
“You only have I known
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities.”
There was real privilege in being known by God. That’s grace! This privilege is never an excuse, a reason to be corrupt (‘God will look after us, he always does’). God has already anticipated and cut off my path to smugness.
Instead of smug self-congratulation, relationship with God brings heightened responsibility. Since he knows us therefore he will judge, discipline & hold his people to right standards. Guess what: when God cuts off the evil pathway, that’s grace too.