Thursday, January 17, 2008

Taking comfort in being uncomfortable, part II

If you didn't read the previous post, you may want to, as this is continuous thought. I was thinking a lot today about what I wrote yesterday. What is wrong with being comfortable? How can you compare driving a nicer car or staying in a nicer hotel or buying a nicer mattress in the name of comfort.

And I was thinking about how faith and comfort connect and wondering if maybe I was just off, until I connected it with James 1:2-5... Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds. Substitute in the place of trials the words "a situation that make you uncomfortable." We are to consider uncomfortable places, situations, circumstances as joy and the reason for this is because these situations test our faith to develop perseverance. Uncomfortableness and faith building are intricately connected. (And don't forget that without faith it is impossible to please God...) Taking running a marathon for example. Comfortable is sitting on your couch watching television or laying in your bed when you should be out running. That is comfortable. But, running tests your muscles and body and mind and through that discipline, it develops perseverance to do tomorrow what you can't do today. No one can just outright run a marathon. It is a process of endurance building that allows you to build up enough stamina and muscle strength to be able to accomplish something that is impossible to everyone else.

So in this situation, being comfortable is wrong. Now, Paul writes in 1 Co 9:24-27 - Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."

But most of us are not like Paul who does the hard thing. So, we need a little help from a coach who will push us and challenge us and shape us through trials and discipline to make us people that glorify Him. Hence, uncomfortableness... How do we respond to that big ugly U word? Complaining? Escaping? Worrying? Hurrying? Rejoicing?

But the question may come: Is it possible to grow in faith when you are comfortable? Will comfortable situations be able to test your faith to develop perseverance? We all know that we grow the most during difficult times. Even Paul writes in 2 Co 1:9 - Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. When we are in tough situations, we rely on God. When we are in comfortable situations, we rely on... God? Me? So, if we truly are desiring to live a faith-filled life, it going to require trials. There is no other game plan offered to get us to a place where we are equipped to do the works that God has prepared in advance that we should walk in.

But, being comforted is biblical...
Tune in tomorrow to see the role of comfort in our lives...

No comments: