Refer to last week’s bulletin for the first half of this article.
4.) You keep God on a leash.
“You stay right there, God. And don’t do anything crazy.” This is the implicit mantra of comfortable Christians. God is confined to a box. Answers rarely fall in the gray area. God rarely operates beyond human understanding. Miracles. Healing. Demons. None of these filter through the box well.
So, they are out.
Comfortable Christians often use phrases like “God doesn’t work that way” and “God can’t do that” because God isn’t all-powerful…he is “most of the time” powerful.
A God without a leash is a God who will act in ways man can’t understand. That’s uncomfortable. But if God is not all-powerful, he is not a God worth serving. So, we must make a decision. Let go of the leash or follow a false god.
5.) You begin to compromise your morals.
Yesterday I ran across the first few chapters of Judges. It was around Judges 2:12 God started doing work on my heart. This is what the Spirit awakened in me: when comfort sets in, morals are compromised. The Israelites entered the Promised Land, conquered the nations in their path, settled into their new home, and…started serving other gods? Anyone else find this baffling?
How could they desert God so easily? The answer…comfort. The Israelites needed God to conquer the nations. They couldn’t do it without him. Once the conquering was over, the need for God dissipated. And when the need for God subsides, morals follow closely behind.
Here is where God split open my heart…I am no different from the Israelites. Every day, I allow the god of comfort to shackle me. I take my eyes off him and justify actions God clearly condemns.
Think about your life. Are you lowering the moral bar? Do you value holiness? This is not about legalism. This is about your heart. A heart desperate for God is a heart dedicated to thinking and acting in ways that reveal your love for him.
6.) You view Christian living as a list of “don’ts.”
Comfort-driven Christians have a laundry list of “don’ts.” They believe in righteousness by subtraction. So, you won’t catch them drinking or cursing…at least not in public. But righteousness by subtraction is one-sided righteousness. It’s half truth. The whole truth is your heart should grieve as much when you fail to live out the “dos” as it does when you fail to refrain from the “don’ts.” But comfortable Christians don’t like the “dos.” It involves them getting out of their comfort zone. It involves them taking the message of the gospel to their neighbor. It involves them feeding the poor and correcting injustices.
Are you minimizing righteousness to a list of “don’ts”? Does your heart break for those who don’t know Jesus? Do you grieve when you pass over an opportunity to plead the cause of the poor and oppressed? Is your heart desensitized to the orphans and widows? If not, maybe it’s time to ask whether you follow comfort or Jesus.
7.) Every person in your circle looks and acts like you.
A few weeks ago, God introduced me to a young man. It was obvious this guy had a tough life. But I was drawn to him immediately. I invited him to our college ministry events and introduced him to a few of our leaders. Then, we had a phone conversation. And in this conversation he informed me he was a homosexual who recently spent time in prison for arson and attempted murder. What I thought next is the same thing some of you are probably thinking. What if he hurts someone? What if he steals something? What was I doing? See the problem?
The old demon comfort reared its ugly head. When he explained all the “bad” sins he committed, I immediately felt my comfort violated. I threw up walls. I labeled him. And this is what comfort says. The gospel is not good news for everyone. It’s good news for those in your circle. Instead of a message for the world, the gospel is a message for “your people.” When comfort is more important than Jesus, small groups become country clubs and churches become barricaded forts. The very ones we should be reaching for Jesus are the ones not allowed to enter.
I am excited about the future. God is working. I believe in the church because I believe in the king who reigns over her. This is not a call to self-pity. This is a call to revival. A call to action. We must tear down the wall of comfort so God can flood our heart and allow his transforming power to spill onto the darkness in this world.
Thank you, Mr. Powell. Well said!