Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Are You Too Comfortable?

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
"Convict me by the Spirit when I am getting too self-sufficient and comfortable..."
I read these words in my journal the other day. Have you ever endured seasons that were especially difficult and character-building? Well, this was written during one of those seasons. I knew that God was using the discomfort to make me more like Jesus. I prayed that, in future times, I would not become altogether too dependent on worldly comforts or self-sufficiency.

I think the problem with giving into the comforts of this life is that we are tempted to grow spiritually lethargic and apathetic. Our comforts hasten to become our gods. They momentarily "replace" the desperate need we have for Christ, for His saving grace and love to be all-satisfying.

Look at what Paul says to the Romans in chapter twelve:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

[Allow me to add a disclaimer here: the blessings of this life are not bad! There are people--Christians--in other countries being killed every five minutes for following Jesus. Freedom and daily provisions are amazing, abundant gifts that the Lord has given by His own hand. If anything, our awareness of hardship in other places should urge us to thank God even more fervently for our blessings, while also praying for our brothers and sisters.]

According to Romans twelve, how do we know if we are getting too comfortable and, as a result, spiritually apathetic? We can examine our lives, asking ourselves, "Am I being conformed to this world?" Being like the world means there is an opposite effect happening in our spiritual lives: we are growing less and less conformed to God's likeness.

In caring about peoples' opinions, in giving value to passing desires, and in finding our identity in temporary titles, we easily lean too heavily on our daily comforts. For me, this has shown up primarily in my time spent with God. I am sometimes too focused on "getting started with my day" and, before I know it, I am off to the races...but to what cost? I literally can do nothing apart from Christ!

Worldly comforts can invade our time, schedule, energy, prayers, service, and sacrifice. Life can quickly become about us, not about glorifying the One who made us! And when we succumb to the world's desires, we are no longer being stretched in faith, nor are we growing closer to Christ-likeness.

What does God call us to, then? What do we do to combat conformity to this world? It is a question I have been asking myself almost every day, so I hope to hear your thoughts on this. But for now, let's pray.

Gracious Father, There are points in our lives when we are much too comfortable. Our earthly comforts distract us from glorifying You. Point out the areas of our lives where we are being conformed to the pattern of this world. Give us a deep understanding of how this separates us from You! Thank You for every blessing, for the freedom we have to walk with You. But may this be further reason to give ourselves completely to knowing and serving You. Thank you for Your grace and love!

Amen. 

In what areas of life might you be too comfortable? In what ways is God calling you to be stretched for His glory?

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