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Jesus, the killer of comfort
Jesus wants to kill our comfort and give us a life full of the Father’s will.
On a hot day, after Jesus had just ministered to a sharp-tongued, serial monogamist (John 4:1–30), his disciples came to him and wanted to make sure he ate something.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying,, "Rabbi, eat" (John 4:31).
Jesus’ response to their concern was a subtle, but masterful, rebuke:
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest" (John 4:34–35).
It isn’t their concern for his welfare that he rebukes. It’s their 9–5, punch-a-clock, business-as-usual mentality he wants to dislodge from the rhythm of their life. Jesus creates disequilibrium in his disciples’ balanced approach to life.
The hidden power of comfort
There’s a hidden, yet subtle power in comfort.
You can be a great person with a stable job, family, and social life. You can pay your taxes, help your aging parents, and recycle, while simultaneously being profoundly enslaved by the idol of comfort—an idol that makes peace and predictability its highest priority.
The comfort idol yearns for privacy, makes no demands, and will only do for others if it brings stability or relieves stress. It is selfishly introspective, constantly non-committal, and abhors anything impinging upon personal freedom.
Jesus creates disequilibrium in his disciples’ balanced approach to life.
The greatest nightmare for those who worship comfort is spontaneity and demands. The people around them often feel neglected or used. And the problem emotion for comfortable Christians is boredom and apathy with Jesus. You don’t like reading his word because he keeps calling you to die to self and find his life, and you like your comfortable life a little too much.
I’m all too aware of the gravitational pull towards comfort and calm. I’m intimately familiar with the desire for steady and predictable rhythms. But I’m regularly caught up in these painful reminders that this life is not about my peace, pleasure, and prosperity, but rather pursuing the will of God.
Jesus wants to kill your comfort
I don’t think Jesus’ intentions are to make us suffer through neglect. Nor do I think Jesus is giving commentary on the evils of nourishing our bodies. Instead, what Jesus is doing is shaping our priorities. He’s clarifying his—and now our—calling. Put another way, Jesus wants to kill our comfort and give us a life full of the Father’s will. If we are to hunger, let us hunger for his will, not our own.
Jesus’ call to “come follow me,” is absolute and irrevocable. He’s a man of action, and his life, death, and resurrection renews comfort-seekers like you and me so that we might wake up and walk with him.
Our desire for comfort often isn’t revealed until we begin walking in God’s will.
We hardly recognize our need for control until we start to serve others who won’t listen to us. We don’t really know how materialistic we are until we open our homes and begin to share God’s blessings with others he loves. We barely sense our pride until we have to admit we don’t know as much about the Bible when a non-believer asks us questions. We struggle to see our impatience until we share our life with someone who seemingly refuses to change in our approved timeline. We are shocked when we’re called comfort-worshipers until we’re called upon to share the name of Jesus and risk our reputation or schedule to love someone in Jesus’ name.
This life is not about my peace, pleasure, and prosperity, but rather pursuing the will of God.
The beauty of God’s great harvest campaign is that the one making disciples on Jesus’ mission is just as needy and often more transformed than the one being discipled. As you make disciples and live in Jesus’ mission, you have regular opportunities for fresh repentance and grace renewal. Those sitting comfortably on the sideline simply won’t sense the same desperate need for God’s grace to be received nor given.
Your Savior loves you far more than you could ever hope for or imagine. He wants you to experience more and more the life and freedom he’s already won for you. But this means he wants to take you to some uncomfortable places so that you might receive some extraordinary grace.