One of the greatest misunderstandings that many have is that becoming a Christian will make life on earth comfortable and restful. This seems to be a logical deduction since God who is our Father, will shield us from all harm and provide for us our daily bread.
The Scripture, however, testifies that Christ’s disciples will experience numerous trials and sorrows on earth (Jn 16:33 NLT). It also promises us that these momentary afflictions will be used by God to prepare us to receive the eternal weight of glory in heaven (2 Cor 4:17 ESV). In other words, God will not always shield us from the earthly trials and sorrows, instead He will use them as His change agents to transform us and bestow on us the likeness of His Son.
Therefore life on earth is to be a change-zone for a disciple of Christ while comfort and rest await us in heaven.
But human beings can’t wait. We want heaven now! We gravitate towards the state of comfort and rest. We hate changes, and we hate to change. We want to remain in our comfort zone and do not like to be stretched. Sadly, we often hide this attitude behind the doors of personality and spiritual gifting. We say: “This is not me. God did not wire me this way.” or “This is not my gifting. My gifting is in other areas.“ Yet in saying these things; we risk resisting God’s invitation to change us from me-likeness to Christ-likeness. We miss the chance to experience authentic growth in our lives.
Recently, The Gospel Coalition released an article that listed eight signs that show our Christianity has become too comfortable (21 October 2017; by Brett McCracken). I have paraphrased some of them for our context:
- You experience no friction between your faith and the secular system or environment you are in (e.g., School/Workplace/Others).
- There are no tensions or unresolved questions that you are seeking God about. You are not hungry to know God more.
- Your friends and colleagues are surprised to learn you are a churchgoing Christian. You blend in so well with their daily speech, conduct, and behaviour.
- You can pass through a few days without the need to remember or apply God’s Word to your life.
- No one at church ever annoys you. This is because you slip in and out of worship services without seeking to connect with others or you do not make effort to fellowship with others outside your church clique.
- You never feel challenged, only affirmed. You have not given others the permission to speak into your life. People are afraid to give you genuine feedback about your walk with God. You take offense easily.
- You’ve never had to have a ‘truth-in-love’ conversation with a fellow Christian. You are “peace-loving” and fear to lose the approval of men. You hate to be God’s agent of change for another person’s life.
- No one in your church could comment on any area of growth they’ve seen in you. You remain the same you, except becoming more rooted and fixated in your own narrow perspectives.
- You take heart that some of the above pointers are not you and are quick to excuse yourself from those that are.
Is your Christian life on earth getting too comfortable?
For a disciple of Christ, earth is an uncomfortable place to experience change (transformation) by God while heaven is the unchanging place to experience eternal comfort and rest from God. Let us not confuse ourselves between the two.
In the New Year, let us not make this earthly life our comfort-zone, but recognize it as the change-zone for God. God invites us to a journey of change, a journey of transformation. He seeks to bestow Christ-likeness to us!
Are you ready for change? Are you ready for God?
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor/Elder (YCKC Bulletin 6&7 January 2018)