The Gospel of Comfort

Image Credit: Roberto Nickson

Shocked to discover how far I had come, I questioned how I got here in the first place. A slippery slope, so easy to slide down. Little by little without realizing it I had convinced myself that my comfort is the greatest prize. It’s one of those prizes that comes with a sense of empty fulfillment once attained. It’s a mixture of discouragement and humour as I look at this thing I worked so hard to attain. Discouragement from being duped into believing it was the right thing, humourous because I was the one who duped myself.

Where does one go once they’ve realized they have arrived at the wrong destination? Is it like getting deep into a math problem and discovering you made an error several steps back? Any further steps pointless unless you go back to identify where the mistake was made; thus making the necessary corrections? Or God forbid, abandoning this current false prize and pursuing yet another one! “Let’s try another math problem without first learning where we’ve forgotten the rules.”

Through the Lens of Salvation

In our next three podcasts we’re meditating on Romans 5:1-6; taking them in bite size pieces, two verses at a time. These verses have me considering transformation through the lens of salvation. Especially verse six:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

Romans 5:6 (TPT)

I mean, just sit with that verse for a few minutes. Read it a few times. Don’t be in a hurry to move on from such a powerful truth. Let it begin to saturate you, breath it in.

We didn’t deserve it and we certainly didn’t earn it. Yet Jesus came and did what He needed to do to so we could benefit, and I guarantee it was far from comfortable. What amazing things do you think happen when we decide we are in need of a savior and choose to welcome the salvation of Jesus into our lives? What is this transformation? Verses one and two tell us we have peace because of what Jesus did for us. He brings us into a place of undeserved privilege, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

I would actually like to know that last time you rejoiced when problems jumped into your path. And yet the in this upside down kingdom that is exactly what we are called to do.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

Romans 5:3-4 TPT

I don’t know about you but I love the results of transformation. Ironically I’m not always quick to embrace the journey that will get me there. Trials, endurance, developing strength and character; that doesn’t sound like it’s going to be comfortable. Oh I will tell you with my words I want it. I want to grow, and yet in the most recent assessment of my life I am shocked to realize I have been choosing the road of comfort. I have convinced myself the gospel is comfortable. This certainly isn’t biblical, “Jesus died to make me comfortable” it says no where in the bible. He did say He would send The Comforter, which makes me think what do I need a comforter for, unless things are going to be uncomfortable? So how did I get here? What convinced me to take the path of least resistance?

Comparing Myself to Others

Maybe it was when I decided comparing myself to others would be a good way to define who I am and how I am doing. Looking around saying “at least I am doing better than so and so”, “At least my marriage is better than theirs.” I believe this kind of thinking will instantly open the door to apathy. Life is good enough right where I am. I am doing pretty good. Except for the fact that the only one I can really compare myself to is myself. Am I doing better than yesterday, am I growing, am I a better version of me, am I the me Jesus created me to be? Do I love God more today? Do I love myself more today? Do I love my neighbor more today? Am I at least taking steps towards these things day by day. Jesus didn’t pour out all of Himself so I could settle and say at least I am better than my neighbor.

Let’s face it, there will always be someone else to compare yourself to in order to feel like you’re doing good. As a side note, when we compare ourselves to others, we’re always looking at the outside as God is the only one who can judge the hearts of men as that is what’s important to Him. So even in our own comparisons, we’re totally off the mark and all efforts are in vain.

Time to Hit the Reset Button

Maybe it is time to hit reset on the systems we use to measure ourselves with and instead let God fill our hearts with His love, given to us through the Holy Spirit. (Verse 5) Maybe like me you need to purge yourself of this gospel of comfort. Walk away from apathy and turn into the things that are scary and uncomfortable. Maybe it should be even more scary and uncomfortable to live in the gospel of comfort, for it is in this place we’re drifting further and further away from God, and from our true selves.

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