The grand old American dream – work hard, save money, and then enjoy it. It is understood that at some point in life, after enough money is gained, you have bought enough cars, houses, built plenty of relationships, and created a status, you can now be comfortable.
For that was the ultimate goal, to have enough money, power or education to make your life the way you want it; comfortable.
I too have tried to take some steps to be comfortable. Being part of a leadership class in college, I took a Myers-Briggs personality evaluation. The results put my personality into four words that paired well with certain careers. After speaking with an adviser, I was to seek a career that made me work hard, but not too hard. In essence, we were looking to see how comfortable I can be in whatever career I chose. Good idea, right? Kind of.
Along with comfort being a priority for the American dream, comfort has become a priority in so many American churches. Churches are now catering to the wants of its congregations. Chairs or pews? Pulpit or no pulpit? Lights up or low? Display a cross or not? Which type of music should we play, because people don’t like new songs or certain genres. Keep everyone comfortable. That’s the goal. Don’t make anyone step outside of their bubble to do anything for anyone. Let us not make anyone uncomfortable. Let’s all avoid suffering.
Jesus was not comfortable.
As a Christian, a Jesus follower, I began to realize that focusing on my comfort and what I wanted was something that Jesus didn’t do. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses… ” God, not being confined by time or flesh, CHOSE to empathize with our weaknesses. He chose to suffer. How is that comfortable? How does weakness and being comfortable match or relate?
Jesus was born in a barn. He had a father that was a carpenter and a mother who was on the verge of being an outcast. His friend, Lazarus, died. Religious leaders hated him and tried to kill him. He was tempted by Satan. He cried like us. He had 12 followers, but they eventually deserted him when people chose to have him killed. How uncomfortable was it for Jesus to love people he knew would leave him? How uncomfortable was it being nailed to a cross, wearing thorns on your head, and being ridiculed for hours?
It wasn’t comfortable at all. Jesus had a mission to die for your sin and mine. He was on a mission that caused him to be uncomfortable. He did his mission because He loves us.
What’s our mission?
American culture is one of comfort. Everything revolves around what is easiest with the least amount of energy exerted. So many of our ultimate goals are based on comfort. Unfortunately, that has crept into the body of Christ. We want money, and we want it now. We want out of this trial, and we want out now. God, heal my body of this sickness, and hurry up!
If suffering is in the equation, we want no parts of it. Does God want us to be comfortable? That may be the problem with the American Church. Christianity has become comfortable. It isn’t valued and cherished. Our God coming to Earth to die for our sins in our place and be raised is no longer something we boldly proclaim to our dying world. It is stopping us from being the salt and light God has called us to be.
It is uncomfortable to sacrifice like Jesus. But we won’t dare make ourselves uncomfortable to do anything.
Comfort is a killer, and it is killing our mission.
We have our preferences and our cliques. We go to this church on this side of town that does certain things because it’s comfortable for us. Jesus wasn’t comfortable. I’m not implying that you should enter into some type of self-torture, but I am saying that our comfort is not our utmost priority. Loving like Jesus is. Love is uncomfortable. Love is sacrificial. Love isn’t quick. Love doesn’t have a preference. Love isn’t prideful, and love doesn’t give up.
You can’t stay comfortable and be like Jesus.
Being uncomfortable means to give up your preference so that others can know about Jesus, His love, and his saving grace. Only you know what is “uncomfortable” for you. I cannot tell you that talking to strangers is comfortable or not. I can’t know for you if standing on the corner proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ is uncomfortable for you. I don’t know if being a stay at home mom or dad is uncomfortable or not.
What I am saying, is that you can push yourself past your preferences.
We will willingly miss opportunities to live out the love and unity that the gospel brings because we may be uncomfortable.
The only way to fulfill the mission is to be uncomfortable. Comfort was not Jesus’ priority. He had a comfort, and He did it. He gave you a mission. Don’t let comfort kill it.
Take a listen to a sermon from Pastor Matt Jensen of The Image Church about what Jesus thinks of comfort, suffering, and our mission below.
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