Can you Deny your Comfort and Embrace the Discomfort?
Comfort is something we often strive for in life. Whether it is the most comfortable ride when you are selecting a new car or maybe the most comfortable recliner for an addition to your living room, perhaps even the most comfortable clothes you can wear that pass the test for “business casual.” Comfort doesn’t have to be physical. It can also be mental. Comfort comes in various outlets: a secure job, money in the bank, a loving spouse, family members who would do anything for you. But not all comfort is good.
Jesus attacks comfort head-on many times in his ministry. One of my favorite sections of scripture about this topic is in John 9:23-25. These verses are ones we can often quote, but often fail to live out. John states: “And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'”
Take up your cross daily
Lose your life for the sake of the Gospel
Forfeit the world
Jesus tells us these are things we have to do to experience the Kingdom of God. That doesn’t sound comfortable, does it? What we see is a foreshadowing. Jesus paints the picture of himself carrying the cross to give up his own life so that he can save ours.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Finley Peter Dunne. He said, “Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” If we are living a comfortable life right now, we may need to do a heart check. We may need to deny ourselves more so we can see what God wants to do through us. Discomfort brings conviction and an open mind to the things God wants to change. You see, comfort isn’t bad, but lack of discomfort is dangerous.
The first thing I do when I get home after a day of work is to slip into my pajamas. I often look forward to being the most comfortable I can be as I lounge around. But what this does is prohibit me from doing anything worthwhile. I come up with excuses that I can’t go to the store because I have my pajamas on, I can’t mow the yard because I have already changed my clothes, etc. These are pitiful excuses because I am using comfort as a disability.
Sometimes we have to keep our mental pajamas in the drawer because there are issues God wants us to deal with. Our neighbor needs God, and we need to share the Gospel. Our own life needs transformation, and we need to stop falling into temptation. The more comfortable we are, the less likely we can achieve what God has called us to do.