Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Comfort or Obsession

Today's jumping off point from Crazy Love is, "People who are obsessed with Jesus aren't consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God's Kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress."

I want to be real clear, I do not like this statement. Not because there is anything about it which is wrong, I simply do not like the implications for my life. My preference would be to have everything work to be nice and safe. That life would not have pain, suffering and struggle as a part of it. The problem is, life does not work that way. Still many of us are on a quest to make life as comfortable and pain free as possible. More than once I have declined a situation because I knew it would cause me discomfort or even pain. I am not proud of that, but the truth must be told.

From an early age we are encouraged by well meaning people to be safe in what we do. Now I am not recommending that we stop wearing seatbelts and that we drive recklessly. I am not suggesting that we jump from airplanes without a parachute. There are some areas where safety is recommended. The trouble is we begin to sacrifice the call of God for the sake of safety. There are situations and places God is calling you and to right now, but we would rather play it safe. I cannot go to Africa, I might be in danger. I cannot go here or there, trouble might result. Whenever we find ourselves in these conversations, we are choosing to trust our own understanding more than God's. We are saying that God does not know how to take care of me.

One of the craziest statements going is, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will.". For a moment lets look at some of the people in Scripture who were in the center of God's will. Esther, standing up to the king who could have her killed, and had a track record with that. The Apostle Paul, beaten, left for dead more times than I breath in a day. Jesus, crucified after receiving the worst beating in history. Does that sound safe? They were all in the center of God's will, but they were not safe. They were at peace, and they were cared for by God, but they were not safe.

The person who is obsessed with Jesus realizes this life is not about them. God calls people into dangerous situations. The church in America is at in interesting crossroads. It has been sitting at this crossroads for nearly 50 years. The comfort once experienced is starting to fade. People are not just magically coming to churches like they once did. The church is now called to go out into places and situations which are not safe for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Still, many in the church remain paralyzed by comfort and their desire to be safe. Obsessed people are willing to sacrifice everything, comfort, safety, and life for the kingdom. Until individuals and churches begin being obsessed with Jesus and not their own comfort and safety, we will sit at the crossroads, idling until we run out of gas and the car dies.

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