Chances are, if you are able to read this blog post, you are more fortunate than the majority of people in this world. For starters, you have been taught how to read, which is huge. You probably have enough food for the day, a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, and the luxury of leisure time to surf the web. You have a computer, and access to the internet, which we can all agree is pretty amazing. We are truly blessed. But sometimes these blessings can serve as a distraction. That roof over your head keeps you so nice and dry, you don’t want to weather the storm with someone who really needs a friend. Your bed is so cozy, you don’t want to get up 30 minutes early to spend time in the Word. The internet is so good at locating all of your friends from high school, that you don’t have time to talk to the guy who sits across from you at work. Sounding familiar? The problem is not that comfort is a bad thing, or that the internet is evil – it’s our lack of discipline, and default setting of worshipping idols rather than the one true God. So here are a few telling signs that comfort has taken over your life, and how to get back on track!
1. You’re a Referee, not a player
When comfort trumps Jesus, Christians move from being an active player in the game, to a ref yelling on the sidelines. Let’s face it – it’s scary living your life 100% for God. When you put your future in His hands, and open yourself up wherever He’s leading you, well, He’s probably going to lead to through some uncomfortable places. The good news is, you’ll be way too busy doing the work of the kingdom to sit back and critique the sermon on Sunday morning, or compare yourself to other Christians.
2. You are surrounded by people who are just like you
Speaking of messes – people are messy. Relationships are hard. It’s much much easier to surround yourself with people who agree with you, who hold all of your same views – both theologically and politically, and who won’t push you to think about anything too hard, or reexamine your core beliefs. So who are your friends? When was the last time you were involved in an uncomfortable conversation, or better yet, when was the last time you started an uncomfortable conversation? Do you go out of your way to talk to the homeless man on the corner, or the single mom with three screaming kids in the grocery store? Can you honestly say that you have an atheist friend? Or a Buddhist friend?
3. You sound just like everyone else in the office
We talk about what we are passionate about. That’s just a fact. What do you find yourself telling your co-workers and friends in the spare moments of the day? Are you concerned with climbing that corporate ladder, no matter who you have to step over? Or maybe you just want to push through the day, not turn any heads, and get home as fast as you can so you can get home and watch more Netflix. This doesn’t mean you have to discuss hard hitting doctrine over your lunch break, but if you claim to love God, He should probably come up every once in while, right? Here’s a good metric for what you’re passionate about – what do you tell people when they ask you what you did over the weekend? Do the words, “went to church” ever come up?
4. Your passion for God has been flat for a while
We’re not just talking about a “dry season” here. If you’ve let comfort creep into your life and take the wheel, you probably haven’t had any real spiritual growth in a while. A long while. Can you remember the last time you cried during worship? Or stood in the middle of God’s creation, completely speechless at how small you are, and how great and powerful God is? When was the last time you read scripture, and it pierced your heart, prompting you to repent and never go back to that sin again? Most of us learn through discomfort. It prompts change, it challenges us to reexamine our choices, and pay attention to the things that matter.
5. You go with the flow – even if it means compromising your morals
It’s uncomfortable to stand up for what you believe in. When everyone else is gossiping, or telling crude jokes, it is easy to go with the flow. Tell a dirty joke every now and then. Get in a good dig at the expense of another co-worker. Don’t stand out too much. Just blend in. God didn’t call us to be just “one of the guys,” he called us to a higher standard. But not so we can shove it in others’ faces – it is for our own protection. We can be in the world, and not of the world.
6. You put God in a box
A God who is confined to human understanding is a safe God. He’s a comfortable God who would never ask you to go talk to that homeless man, or move across the world to spread His message to unreached people groups. He’s a God who can be put away on a shelf. He’s certainly not all-powerful. He’s “most-of-the-time” powerful. This is also a false god. You see, if God is not all-powerful, then he is not a God worth serving. We need him to work beyond our comprehension, and we need him to convict us and lead us to places that we ourselves would never go. This is a God worthy of praise.
7. Your faith has become a list of do’s and don’ts
You can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. – Mark Batterson
Comfort and laziness go hand in hand, and there is no lazier religion than that of a list of rules and checkboxes. Have you boiled your time with God down to a scheduled time slot where you read a pre-determined number of verses, and then go over a laundry list of prayer requests before calling it quits? Or maybe you just have a list of things “Christians just don’t do.” It’s easy when things are black and white. It’s comfortable to know where the lines are and to stay far far away so you never have to cross them. You know who often crossed the lines? Jesus. He ate with tax collectors, and he showed mercy to the prostitutes. He conversed with thieves, and he mocked the religious leaders of his day. Jesus was messy, and he wasn’t satisfied putting God in a box, or putting people in a box.
All of this may seem overwhelming, and like it’s too much to handle right now. If you find yourself stuck in a comfortable rut, make it a goal to challenge yourself in one of these areas this next week. Make a new friend, bring up church in a conversation at work, read a new devotional book written by someone who holds different points of view than you, or make a point to identify where you have been lazy in your faith, and pray that God would give you eyes to see sin for what it is.SKM: below-content placeholder