18
Nov
10

the not so comfortable gospel

I like air conditioning and heat. I like big screen TV’s and steak dinners. I like laying on the couch for an afternoon and watching football. I like a big warm bed and I like being able to get my email or update my Twitter on my smartphone. I like being able to go home from my job everyday to my safe home. I like all these things and more, and recently that’s what has begun to bother me. Am I getting too comfortable? While I completely understand that I am still a man made of flesh and my default is “me, mine, and what’s best for myself” I am being stirred and reminded that I have never been called to be comfortable.

I read in Matthew 16:24-26 where Jesus, the Savior of the World says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

I have scanned this passage over and over looking for something in it that felt comfortable or soothing to my selfish desires, and I am coming up completely empty every time. I mean maybe it is just that there wasn’t the technology and comforts in the time Jesus walked the earth as there are today, so Jesus wasn’t necessarily directing this at those of us who would live in a day where we could pause and rewind live high definition TV….or was He talking about us too? It seems that if I want to receive the salvation that came from Jesus dying on the cross then I would also have to follow the uncomfortable commands to daily take up my cross and give up my life. This is where the battle with my flesh begins…”but I enjoy this” and “I have plenty of money to get that” or “this makes me comfortable.” However, I am reminded in this passage in Matthew 16 that Jesus’ idea of investing isn’t what this world would normally call successful. Jesus says, “whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” What? Are you serious? When does losing something ever cause you to find or gain anything? But isn’t that what Jesus did when He left the comforts of Heaven to come to the earth to give up His life for fallen man so that they might gain eternity through salvation? Jesus gave up so that the Father might gain glory. I’m pretty sure there was nothing comfortable about the persecution, beating, abuse, and crucifixion that Jesus endured, but He demonstrated the greatest form of obedience ever known by laying aside His comforts. Hello? Does that mean anything to me? Does that even cause me to flinch or is this just another nice thought that I read or hear in the comforts of what I believe I deserve?

Jesus has not once called us to comfort but He has called us to radical obedience. Does God provide us the opportunity to experience comforts on this earth? Yes, but the moment that I become so locked into my comforts that obedience to God becomes an option rather than the unquestionable standard I have got some serious self-checkin to do. I am learning that I have a long long way to go in order to be in-line with the obedience that I believe God is calling me to, but if I believe God is who He says He is and the path He is calling me to walk is the only true way for my life, then I will be willing to neglect what I call comforts and respond with obedience to the not so comfortable gospel.

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About me…

My name is Bryant May. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to the most beautiful and God-fearing woman I know, director of production at Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS, an Alabama football fanatic, and an OCD organization/clean freak.

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