As Americans we love to be comfortable! We don’t like to have to suffer, experience pain, or endure hardships. We want an “our best life now” where “every day is a Friday”. I remember the days of my youth where I actually had to get up from the couch and turn the knob on the television to change the channels (back when there were only about 5!)
When Christ called us to Himself in salvation, did He ever promise us that life would be comfortable?
Many of you probably have heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor during World War II who was very vocal against Hitler’s Nazism and genocide against the Jews. He was arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo and spent a year in a German prison awaiting his execution. He was hanged in April 1945 just 23 days before the Nazi’s surrendered. He wrote a book called “The Cost of Discipleship” and you’ve probably heard his famous quote: “The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. … we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death—we give over our lives to death. … When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”
As believers we need to have this truth drilled into our souls: Obedience to Christ is far more important than temporary comfort.
Listen to the words of Jesus in John 15:18-20: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
If that is not enough to shock you out of your comfort as a Christian, listen again to Jesus in Luke 6:22-23: “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
This is truly radical. When Jesus invades your heart with His grace He totally reorients your entire life. He demands ultimate allegiance. He challenges your priorities. He confronts your sin. He changes your affections and longings. In other words, Jesus royally “messes up” your life—in a good way. Obedience to Him is far more important than temporary comfort.
In evaluating our lives this week, I wonder where our hearts truly are centered? Where is our ultimate gaze? Paul gives us a poignant challenge in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. He writes: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Are we living ultimately for the temporary comfort of the “here and now’? Does our heart’s affection reside in the temporary, transient things of this world? Or are our eyes and hearts fixed on things eternal where our ultimate joy is located—namely in Jesus Christ Himself.
I will say it again: Obedience to Christ is far more important than temporary comfort. May we not only believe this but be willing to actually live it out in our lives every day.