Can comfort be your idol?


Matthew 10:38-39 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

This summer, I’m attending a small group book study every Tuesday night. We are reading The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. The book is about the parable of the 2 lost sons. I’ve frequently heard this parable preached with the entire focus being on the younger son; however, this book provides insight on how both sons were indeed lost. The book is riveting and I am learning entirely too much. I say too much because after each session I leave wrecked! Wrecked… in a good way though. Wrecked in a “Jesus loves me and is conforming into His image” way. I can go on and on about all the things I am discovering through reading this book, the Bible and through prayer but I’ll spare you…for now. I will just focus on what I learned last night. So during our discussion last night our facilitator brought up the topic of idols. He had a nice power point of various things that can become idols in our life. So as my eyes are scrolling this list, I stop dead in my tracks at comfort. “You know you have a comfort idol if your greatest nightmare is stress/demands.” After reading that, all I could hear were cricket sounds in my head. Like oh boy, I thought I was doing better on the idol front and now I am smacked in the face with a new revelation. I KNEW I was guilty. I sat there, asked questions and pondered this new discovery all night. Let me give you a little more info about me, pretty much everything I do, want and need stems from my own level of comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I will serve, help, assist and encourage others whenever I can. I do know it’s not based on my own strength because if it was left up to me, I will spend my days in serious relaxation. So I know it is the Holy Spirit working inside of me. However, I often times avoid doing hard things; sacrificial things. It’s always easy to do the easy things but I know God is challenging me to do the hard things. Being holy should be my main pursuit. Avoiding things that bring discomfort to your life does not help to glorify God. Being a free-spirit, it’s easy for me to neglect something that requires discipline in place of something that is fun and self-pleasing. Lately, I’ve noticed a huge push for people to become minimalists now. I grew up with humble beginnings so the last thing I want is less. lol I have the means to shop, go out to eat frequently, attend weekly social events and put my son in several activities. I have validated this in my mind because I am always in search of a deal; however, I am still living in excess to ensure my comfort level isn’t disturb. What I lack is the discipline to do the things I should do without focusing on my happiness being the end result. David Platt describes how many Americans have domesticated Jesus into how we want to live our own comfortable lives when he wrote:

A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American Dream. (13, Radical)

How true indeed for many of us and we don’t even realize it?! It can be so subtle that we don’t realize it. We can see this with the surge of prosperity preaching that is taking over the airwaves. We hear this when people focus more on receiving blessings when the mere fact that we are saved and restored to the Father is the greatest gift we could receive. We witness this when believers look down on other believers for not looking the part or deciding to leave everything behind to do mission work. We hear people say, “it doesn’t take all that” when in fact it does take all that. What it takes is for us to live a life striving to be obedient to Jesus and not just when it feels right. It takes us having private time with Him to discover His path for our lives. Sure, we can’t do this on our own and Jesus knew that. He ascended so the Holy Spirit could descend and take up residence in us. We don’t have to rely on our own power to move from our comfort level because the Holy Spirit living in us believers will guide us! How awesome is that! I can’t think of a better blessing. So as I lay my Banana Republic addiction aside and get up from my comfort spot, I will seek Christ’s guidance to continue to wreck my world and make me more like Him.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.