Comfort and safety.
Let’s all admit that we’re creatures of both.
We live in a culture where a person’s comfort and safety is seen as an inalienable right…something worth fighting for even.
At the core of every person’s views on life, religion, politics, money, relationships and everything else is a deep-down desire for their own personal comfort and safety.
And, unfortunately, this desire has seeped its way into the Church.
We idolize comfort and safety just like everyone else.
We make choices everyday based on how comfortable or safe that choice will make us feel.
At the core of religious consumerism and the “Christian ghettos” we choose to inhabit is our deep-down desire for our own personal comfort and safety.
And, the problem with that is this…
We’re actually surprised when we have to face hard things.
We’re surprised that we might actually have to take risks or to suffer as Christians…either because of our faith or simply because of the fact that we live in a world that is horribly broken by sin.
And, so we end up living risk-averse, low-impact spiritual lives in a world that desperately needs us to “turn from our selfish ways, take up our cross daily, and follow Jesus.” (Luke 9:23)
When pursuing our own comfort and safety become the driving force behind the everyday decisions that we make, we eventually become spiritually impotent people who spend more time whining and complaining about the evils of our culture instead of looking for ways to transform it.
It’s almost as if we’re surprised by the fact that it might be hard, unfair, risky, or uncomfortable to live as Christians in a God-less society.
But, the reality is we shouldn’t be surprised at all.
Suffering is part of the deal of following Jesus…our own personal comfort and safety is not.
We know this is true because Jesus said it is, and His life on earth backed it up…He really was a “suffering servant.”
It was Jesus who said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But, take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We know this is true because Jesus’ first followers said it too, and they also went out and backed up their words with actions.
It was Peter who said…
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” (1 Peter 4:12-13 & 19)
As we continue to face trials and suffering in this world, may we be a people who suffer well…in a manner that pleases God.
May we be a people who keep on doing what is right even when it requires us to get out of our comfort zones, take risks, and do hard things.
And, may we do these things trusting our lives to the God who created us, always remembering that He will never fail us or abandon us.