By Steven Shaw
Let me start by saying I believe I am the most guilty of this sin. I am comfortable way too often. And not that we are called to be uncomfortable, but we are called to love until it hurts. Because a true love in action is a sacrifical love. But as I pursue Christ and holiness I am increasingly more aware and ashamed of the sin and idol of comfort.
What do I mean by comfort? It is easy as an American and even more a Southern Californian, to enjoy and be lost in the comforts of life. It’s just too easy to have what you want when you want it. Don’t get me wrong, I count my blessings and thank God for America and it’s freedoms. I am so thankful that I was born here. But just like any good gifts of God, they need to be watched and put in their right place under God. I am afraid that the comforts of life are the most dangerous because they often go unnoticed. I pride myself on the hard work I do and deserve every selfish thing I desire. That is a bad place to be.
If you look back at history and the people most faithful to God you will see a common theme, discomfort, persecution, and suffering. It almost looks like God is punishing them for being a believer. But as we look at the Bible we can see a more powerful common theme. We are to rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3-5). We are called to find joy and praise God in trials and tribulations (James 1:2, 1 Peter 1:6-9). How and why?! Because God is and should be enough for us in all of life. And when He doesn’t feel like that, it is because we are far from Him. When we are satisfied in Christ alone, then we can say with confidence and joy “You give and take away, blessed be Your name” (Job 1:21). This is a practice that requires a daily trend. It is one of the most difficult things to master, as our natural tendency is to find and stay comfortable.
Why seek discomfort? It’s not that we should seek out trails or discomfort, but we should be seeking Christ above all else. Seeking Christ is a daily dying to self and living to Christ above all else (Mark 8:34-35). As we walk with Christ closer each day, it will be walking away from the world more and more. That will cause a natural weeding of fleshly comforts and worldly securities. Remember, we are wrapped in the very weakness that enslaves us to our every desire and passion. It takes a moment by moment rededication to God to fight the quicksand of our sin. I know it sounds a bit heavy but that is what I am talking about with this discomfort topic. Even just the natural plot of seeking holiness will cause a normal amount of discomfort. If we seek a life of real walking with God, it means giving up everything from our ideals to our plans in life, which will lead in the greatest life of real discipleship in the world and true life change for the world around us (Matthew 16:24-26, Luke 18:22, Philippians 3:1-10, Matthew 4:19). It is not enough to be satisfied with your church attendance and tithe amount. I am not scoffing at either of those, in fact, they are both commands from God. But Christ alone is what we need and that doesn’t come naturally.
However, God is the God of all comfort. Read 2 Corinthians 1 and you’ll read a lot about what comfort means to us through Christ. The Holy Spirit is our comforter. He is the second Person of the Trinity. He is the very Spirit of Jesus. He dwells in every believer and allows us to rest and glory in Him.
How do we grow in our understanding of what all this means? I don’t claim to have all the answers. However, I do seek to know God and His desires for all of us more each day. So as I write this I am also being sanctified. I grow in my love and affections to God more and more. I am trying to be faithful on the platforms I have been given. If you are reading this then you are part of that platform and I thank God for you. I pray this blog will help you at least be more aware of your daily life. Let us not slip into our comfort zones every day. Let us seek God above all things regardless of our lot in life. Because, if we don’t see Christ as our greatest treasure then we need to grow in our understanding of the beauty of God.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Contributing editor credit: Lisa M Johnston, Th.M. and Pastor/sozofreedom.com