Jesus Didn’t Die So You Could Be Comfortable
Recently, I came across a post by a popular blogger who joked about his lack of desire to raise his hands in praise and worship at church. His response? Bring coffee, hold it, and then you won’t need to raise your hands.
My first thought was, “Wow! They let him have coffee in the sanctuary?” My second and more prominent thought was, “Who cares if you don’t feel like raising your hands? Who cares if you’re tired? Who cares if you’re uncomfortable raising your hands? Did Jesus feel like being publicly scourged? Did Jesus feel like being displayed like a thief between two real thieves? Did Jesus feel like stretching out his hands and being nailed to the cross? Did Jesus feel like bearing the sins of the world on His shoulders and having His Father forsake him?”
I think not! Why? Because the Bible tells us so.
A Disease Called "Comfort"
We have this disease in the Western world, namely America, called comfort. It’s a dirty little word many of us are acquainted with. Now don’t get me wrong, a comfortable bed, couch, and pair of shoes is not a bad thing. However, when you’re comfortable in life, especially your spiritual life, you’re in a danger zone.
In his sermon entitled "Abraham and Sodom," Bishop Tudor Bismark shares examples of “comfort issues” in the American church. These issues include lacking a good nursery for our kids to leaving a church if it doesn’t have a carport to cover our hair when it rains. He compares American spirituality to that of Africa and says, “Come to the Motherland and I’ll show you people serious about God!”
Why is comfort the determining factor in our relationship with God? The luxuries of even the middle class in America are a blessing! When we let all of the modern conveniences dictate what’s best, we keep God from having His way in our lives. Think I’m wrong? Read the Bible.
Jezebel put out a hit on Elijah.
And this was Jeremiah’s situation.
Sounds really comfortable to me.
Don’t Get Stuck in Egypt
Now I’m not saying that comfort is of the devil. It’s not. Comfort, along with all of the spiritual laws, is neutral. It depends on its usage in order to describe the outcome. In short, it’s Egypt.
Egypt was a haven for Abraham. It housed him and his people during the famine. But when he took Egypt with him in the form of Hagar, what was once a blessing became the bondage of the Middle-East for centuries until modern day. It also caused heartbreak to his family and himself.
Egypt was a haven for Abraham’s descendants during a later famine. All seventy some odd members of Jacob’s family were saved, only to become slaves approximately one generation later. They made Egypt fat with the blessing of Abraham. However, when a new Pharaoh arose who didn’t know Joseph, he took the agricultural leaders of the nation and made them slaves for 400 years. Egypt is great within its proper place; however, when it takes hold of you, you become its slave; stagnant from achieving the things of God in your life.
"Stagnant" describes a large portion of the American Church. "Seeker-friendly" is an even better word. The seeker-friendly church is all about making it comfortable for visitors and members. Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable! But let me tell you something about seeker-friendly and comfortable: comfort does not dictate the presence of God, nor His blessing.
The presence of God can show itself more readily at a brand new storefront or home church than it can at a well-established megachurch. (And no, I’m not against megachurches by any means.)
The Holy Spirit may fall more on an off-key, but genuine singer than it will on a Grammy-award winning psalmist.
Sure it’s comfortable to have the rewards that come with a prominent career or the status that comes with a well-known ministry, but that alone doesn’t indicate God’s blessing or the devil’s influence.
God Qualifies the Called
Let me tell you something else, peace doesn’t necessarily denote comfort. Here’s a list of people who weren’t comfortable, but were chosen anyway:
John the Baptist.
The 12 apostles.
Jesus, the Son of God.
All of these people took major risks when they stepped out on faith and it was NOT comfortable. Chances are if you’re called of God, then you’re not qualified. Certainly not by man’s standards. Thankfully though, our lack of qualification is exactly what we need if we’re willing to step out on faith and decrease so that God may increase in us and through us. It is He who qualifies us. As Joyce Meyer says, "DO IT AFRAID!"
So whether it’s writing a book, starting a business, preaching a sermon, or even raising your hands in service when you’re too tired or too careless to feel like doing it, DO IT ANYWAY. Our praise as well as our lives are a sacrifice unto God. If you don’t feel like doing something or are too afraid to do it, you can be darn sure that it will be a sacrifice in God’s eyes. Put self and comfort aside and do it anyway!