Sunday, March 24, 2019

Living Faithfully In the Discomfort Zone


Image result for john piippo comfort
(Downtown Detroit)

On occasion I hear someone speak about their "comfort zone." Like: "Sorry, but what God wants me to do is out of my comfort zone."

The comfort zone is the environment where they feel safe. This is the place of little discomfort. This is a self-utilitarian approach to life; viz., do what gives me the most comfort most of the time, and the least pain most of the time.

This is the American H-god. It's "Happiness" - "Clap along if you think that happiness is the truth, Because I'm happy." (See The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being. See also: "If Everything Is So Amazing, Why's Nobody Happy?") 


The idea of a "comfort zone" is a historically recent European and North American invention. It has nothing to do with God's plans and purposes. (See Happiness Industry - the "comfort zone" is rooted in the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham.) Yes, we find great promises of peace and rest throughout the Scriptures. No, you will not find comfort zone maintenance there.


In Scripture we see that what really pleases God is "faith." We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. "Faith" and "comfort zone" do not overlap. We do not read the book of Hebrews saying, By faith Abraham stayed in his comfort zone.


If we stay in our comfort zones, it will be impossible to please God. Faith entails going into places and situations and human lives where, to be honest, we would rather not go. (See here, e.g.) Faith moves from comfort to discomfort. That is its nature.


"Faith" is RISK. Obedience by faith escorts us into the Discomfort Zone for the Cause of Christ. Think of missionaries. Then, think of yourself as a missionary, planted where you are. 

As Jesus died on the cross he was bleeding in the Zone of Universal Discomfort, for you and I. He was not there to furnish our man-caves with decorative crosses. He calls us to a life of faith that is accomplished by cross-bearing, within the enemy territory of this world's present darkness. We move out of the comfort zone and into the fire.

In Revelation 14:4 we read about the martyrs who refused to worship the beast: They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. It was uncomfortable. Their suffering was redemptive. 


If we give our lives to Jesus as Lord he will own us, tie a belt around our waist, and lead us into places we would rather not go. He will increase the borders of our comfort zone to those of his kingdom.


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My two books are:

I'm working on:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I'm almost done editing Encounters With the Holy Spirit.

Linda and I then plan to write our book on Relationships.