March 28, 2007
I was reading a
Christian essay put forth by Robert Ricciardelli. Theme is wrapped around
comfort, disappointment and fear. It is an excellent essay to meditate on. The
part that caught my attention was on comfort.
has become literally the Land
of Plenty for its
citizens. Americans have been blessed with the ability to enjoy the comfort of
leisure whether it is vacations or post-work entertainment. Even the Americans
considered the poor enjoy this comfort zone in quantifying degrees.
have been caught up into this nearly Laodicean pleasure of comfort. The comfort
zone is huge for many Christians. Many Christians go to seeker-friendly
Churches. Even the Christians that are God-seeker-friendly are more of a
fantasy of the desire of self-discipline to find the Face of God. Inevitably
seeking the Face of God Churches is populated by a handful of disciplined real
God seekers in which the rest of the Congregation hopes to arise experientially
on the coat tails of the disciplined. And I am not sure if this is wrong
because not every Christian is ever going to be on the same spiritual plain. It
is comfort zone thinking though that holds back Christians from moving from
discipline to discipline.
The Expectation of
comfort is probably one of the biggest (definitely not the only) hindrances for
American Christians to experience the supernatural and awesome power of God
experientially. American Christians are slowly moving to a time when the awesomeness
of God must be a valid experience and an optimum mode of living.
increasingly being pushed as an archaic faith by the religion of Secular
Humanism. Yes, I said religion: Secular Humanism’s tenets of faith are
the deification of humanity thus making morality a relative matter rather than
a foundational matter of the Word of God.
A Secular Humanist or
a Christian immersed in Secular Humanism will view the Bible as an evolved
construct by human minds not Divine assignation.
A Christian who has
faith that the Bible is the Word of God views the determination of the Biblical
Canon as the influence of the Holy
Spirit on the minds of man; thus an existence of a Divine imprimatur.
Anyway, enough of my
rambling thoughts read some of Robert Ricciardelli.
THROUGH ADVERSITY–RISING ABOVE SELF-COMFORT, DISAPPOINTMENT, AND FEAR
must put aside pleasure seeking lifestyles if we want to make an impact in our
world and be faithful servants of the Most High God."
Comfort, disappointment, and fear are three of the
greatest enemies of our souls. We can be lulled into ineffectiveness for the Kingdom of God in the comfort of our lives. We can
become weary and stagnant from affecting our spheres in this world because of
disappointment. Fear can paralyze us to retreat from what we must face–the
battle of life, Jesus, and the Word of God.
One of the devices of the enemy is to engage
us and consume us with "self." Self wants to be comforted. Self
desires the easy road and the easy life. Self wants to protect itself by not
going out on a limb or really ever stretching our faith. Self wants to live a
balanced life neither hot nor cold…that is a scary thought according to Revelation
like the way the Message version reads:
Revelation 3:15-17, "I know
you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not
hot–far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You
make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from
anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and
Comfort enthusiasts are often deep rooted in
pride. They tend to think that their life is their own, and they are blinded to
the fact that their very existence is the Lord’s, and everything they have is
His as well. One of the things we must be reminded of, time and again, is that we are His, our every breath
is His. He may desire for us to give up all for His
sake. He may want us to leave jobs, friends, and family, while traveling to
distant lands to serve Him.
We must put aside pleasure seeking lifestyles
if we want to make an impact in our world and be faithful servants of the Most
Matthew 6:33, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously,
and He will give you everything you need."
If we seek His Kingdom first and always, then
He will give us what we need in our journey with Him. We are not alone, He is
always with us. If we have plenty, it is for a purpose, and He will direct the
plenty because it is His to direct. If we have little, then there is a reason,
and we can trust that He will provide all that we need for His purposes.
We must put aside comfort when it gets
in the way of our purpose.
We must not seek comfort, but we must have a deep concern when comfort stays
around too long. This is not to be confused with peace. I am referring to
comfortable lifestyles that keep us from advancing in glorifying the Lord in
all that we do.
Disappointment and hopelessness seem to run
together sometimes. We can fail to the point of finally giving up and not
having hope for a bright future. Our God is the God of redemption, restoration,
and brilliant futures for all of His people. Only in deception can we miss the
fact that in Him, defeat is temporary and it often becomes strength for the
Romans 8:28, "And we know
that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God
and are called according to His purpose for them."
Notice it says "everything" works
together for the good of us. This means that despite the good things that come:
Defeat works together for the good,
Delay works together for the good,
Lack works together for the good,
Loss works together for the good,
Sickness works together for the good,
And finally, even death works together for the good for all of us, His
The Lord promises that the end result for all
of us is triumphant, so be patient and be encouraged beloved of God.
Ecclesiastes 7:8, "Better is
the end of a thing than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit is
better than the proud in spirit."
We have all heard the saying, "There is
nothing to fear but fear itself." There is much truth in that statement.
The enemy of our souls knows that if he can wrap us up in fear, that in effect,
can disengaged us from the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Much of the fear we have is never realized, but can perpetuate real problems
because we can no longer operate in faith when we have given fear a place in our
lives. Remember, He is our Protector. I remember Jesus sleeping through the
storm when fear had gripped the others.
Proverbs 3:24-26, "You’ll
take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need
to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around
the corner, because GOD will be right there with you; He’ll keep you safe and
People of God, we do not need to live in
fear. When it comes out of your mouth, rebuke yourself. I have witnessed so many
in fear of what lies ahead in the future for them. They are literally consumed
to the point that their faith and their production for God has been
neutralized. We should live in His wisdom, and trust that He has you in His
hands, because He does.
freedom comes when God sets our heart free."
Psalm 119:32, "I run in the
path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."
When we are set free by the Lord, it does not
mean that we can do anything we want at anytime. We must not throw off all
order and restraint, be self-indulgent, self-pleasing, and self-willed. That is
not real freedom. That’s slavery. It’s slavery to self and it’s slavery to sin.
Real freedom comes when God sets our heart
free–free from the bondages of comfort, disappointment, and fear. The psalmist
says, "You’ve set my heart free."
What’s the evidence? "I run in
the path of your commands." When we are truly liberated by the grace of
God and the power of God, it’s not to please ourselves, it’s not to do our own
thing, but it’s to be able to obey God in every way, freely and joyfully.
When we run the path of His commands, there
is little room to be lavished in comfort, there is little time for
discouragement, and fear is removed because faith and purpose have taken over.
Let’s advance His Kingdom regardless of what comes our way. When good things
come, praise God, when devastation comes praise God.
"Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!"