The Danger of Comfort

Is anyone else feeling tired and maybe a little lazy?  I’ve been noticing a weird thing that is happening as I age.  When I was younger, I wanted to race towards the next thing.  Growing, learning, achieving.  Now it’s as if I have hit this peak where I’ve started slowing down.  Enjoying the views, wondering why everyone is in such a rush, cursing the calendar and the clock.

I love a slower pace, don’t get me wrong.  Slower leaves room for meaningful experiences.  But I’ve noticed I have to watch out for something sinister lurking behind the facade of relaxation.  

Comfort.  

I love comfort, too.  Don’t get me wrong.  Sinking into a cushy spot with a good book.  Wearing my favorite yoga pants and mismatched Disney princess T-shirt while going barefoot all day.  Snuggling up with my kids to watch movies.

But those moments are precious because they don’t last forever.  Getting too comfortable could mean I’ve stopped being productive.  Or I’ve stopped learning.  Or growing.  I’ve heard wise people say that if you’re not growing you’re dying.  

Why is being comfortable dangerous?  Because it leads us to believe the lie that we don’t need God.  It leaves us feeling lukewarm.  Francis Chan puts it this way in his book, Crazy Love:

“Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.  They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their savings account.  They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place.  They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out.  They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health.  The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.”

Is it really as bad as all that?  Am I just being dramatic?  Maybe we should see all these things – savings and retirement accounts, a clear life path – as blessings.  As a sign that we are making good choices and we’re being rewarded with a comfortable, stable life.  Maybe. 

But maybe I gave up the drug of busy, and traded it for the drug of comfort.  Maybe I’m still heavily sedated into ignoring Jesus.

What does Jesus have to say about lukewarm faith?

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. ~Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV)

My ego tries to argue even this.  I’m not “wealthy!”  I worry about money all the time.  We’ll never have enough to be truly “comfortable.”  Besides that, the Bible is ancient.  He wasn’t talking about me, He was talking about people in some synagogue thousands of years ago.  Maybe.

But then again, I’ve been reading this book called Divine Mercy in My Soul.  It is the diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, a nun from Poland who died in 1938.  Not thousands of years ago.  Less than 100 years ago, which is quite recent compared to the Bible.  Saint Faustina is known for having very vivid visions and interactions with Jesus.  You can read about her yourself to determine the validity, but I think you’ll find it compelling.  Here is just one of the many things Jesus said to her regarding lukewarm souls:

“These souls wound My Heart most painfully.  My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls.  They were the reason I cried out:  ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’  For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.”

Why is Jesus so harsh on lukewarm souls?  Isn’t lukewarm preferable to cold?  No!  It’s so much worse because we should know better!  We claim to know Him and love Him, yet we treat Him with indifference.  Does it not feel worse to be ignored by the person you love the most than to be ignored by a complete stranger?

I don’t want to make Jesus feel ignored.
I don’t want Him to cry out because of me.
I don’t want to risk my salvation on the lie of comfort.

So how do we attempt to avoid it?  Watch for red flags.  Here’s a list, adapted from Crazy Love.

Not going to church every single Sunday.
Not giving enough to feel it.
Choosing what is popular over what is right to avoid conflict.
Not wanting to be saved from sin, but from the penalty of sin.
Moved by stories of “radical” Christians, yet not enough to act.
Rarely share faith with others.
Viewing ourselves as better than most others.
Fitting Jesus into already planned lives, instead of planning life around Jesus.
Do not love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength.
Do not seek to love others as much as we love ourselves, and only love those who will return it.
Willingness to serve is limited in regards to time, money, and energy.
Thinking about life on earth more than eternity in heaven.
Thankful for luxuries and comforts, but rarely consider giving as much to the poor.
Doing whatever is necessary to keep from feeling too guilty.
Concerned with playing it safe.
Feel secure in the Christian Checklist.
Lives are structured so there is no need for faith.

Do any of these make you squirm like they make me squirm?  How about your ego?  Is it screaming like mine about perfectionism and unfairness?  Arguing that God knows we are trying in our hearts?  That makes me squirm most of all.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?  “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” ~Jeremiah 7:9-10

I can check what’s going on in my heart by what is coming out of my mouth and through my actions.  

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. ~Luke 6:43-45 (NIV)

But I also have to challenge myself to not just put on a show of “good fruit.”  I need to examine intentions and motives.  Consider what my mouth says and what I do in the comfort of family, close friends, or in private versus what is shown to my workplace, my church, or my Facebook page.  

I can get an feel for whether I love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength with a quick look at my calendar and my possessions.  How I actually spend my time is a great indicator of what I love the most.  And what treasures I am storing is a great indicator of what I value the most.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

There is no doubt I am getting older and slower.  My kids remind me of this on a daily basis as I struggle to stay up past their bedtime.  I will rest more and focus on one thing at a time.  I am leaning into meaningful instead of busy.  But it only takes a quick internet search of current events to remind me the world is anything but safe and cozy.  This is definitely not the time for comfortable.  

Lord, I pray that we will all stay aware of the danger of comfort.  That we remember You are most important and we will go after You with a youthful crazy love.  Show us the red flags.  Give us insight into our own hearts.  Help us to know the difference between a slower life and a lukewarm one.  Allow the Holy Spirit to re-ignite our passion for You. ~Amen

 

While we’re checking on things all friendly like, how is your prayer life?  War Room Lukewarm Coffee


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