Where our comfort zone ends, the will of God begins
We are creatures of comfort and habit. And since we love our suffering, testing and trial free zones, we are easily lulled into being content with the status quo of our religious traditions and habits. If we were to take a quick survey of the Bible, we would see that the status quo and discipleship are NOT pieces of the same puzzle.
Unfortunately, our human condition is that we are all born into this world prone to believe vices and voices other than God because those things help us maintain our comfort zones. But C.S. Lewis challenged this notion when he stated so poignantly, “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures… We are far too easily pleased.” Basically, his assessment was that God’s will, plans and purposes are infinitely greater than the poor substitutes we are so easily satisfied with.
Don’t despise the opportunity for growth
Scripture is clear that growth and comfort cannot co-exist, they are mutually exclusive. If we are determined to grow in our discipleship to God and others, we can’t remain comfortable. And if our need for comfort trumps our call to discipleship, then our Christian belief will be passive and ineffective from year to year.
However, as Christians, we have been endowed with new strength, a new heart and identity so that we can operate not based on our natural abilities, but on the virtue of someone else’s obedience, strength and power – i.e. Jesus! So, we need to stop despising the testing and trails that come to make us stronger or the suffering that invokes Christ himself restoring, confirming, strengthening and establishing us.
Jesus is committed to our growth
John 15 is a beautiful illustration of just how committed Jesus is to our growth. As long as we are connected to the vine, Jesus promises that the Father will faithfully do the necessary pruning, purifying, cleansing and stripping down so that we are not barren (comfort zone) but can be most fruitful (growth); producing more of the life, character, image and mission of Christ in us and through us! But fruit doesn’t come by pixie dust. It’s the by-product of responding to God’s refinement and not missing whatever it is God is trying to teach us.
In order to move beyond our comfort zone into the area of producing MUCH FRUIT, we all must ask the difficult question. Where have we become comfortable and are too easily pleased with the status quo? Are we comfortable with needing to control and anger? There’s no fruit there, we can’t advance anything in our anger…certainly not the Kingdom of God. Is it in the safety net of self-righteousness? No fruit there either. We don’t win the world through our religiousness. Have we become apathetic in areas of our own discipleship?
Staying spiritually and physically comfortable is not worth relational and eternal loss we incur. So, I challenge you to resist the false satisfaction of your “comfort zone.” In Christ, we can’t remain the same. Growth is not optional, it’s a requirement! Make sure you do the things that promote growth – time in the Word and in prayer, applying what you read in the Word, and not disconnecting from Christian community that can help keep you accountable to what you read in the Word.