I have been thinking a lot lately about the spiritual aspect of discomfort, especially when I find myself dripping with sweat in the Cambodian heat, or when I am running low on money, or maybe even when I can’t find something decent to watch on Netflix. It’s funny (and wonderful) when I run across a scripture that puts an exclamation mark on my thoughts.
I believe the majority of each person’s day on earth is spent in pursuit of comfort…the avoidance of discomfort. Do you agree? Babies come into the world howling for comfort. “I’m wet, I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m in pain.” Adults are just as bad. We like to vocalize our discomfort too. Did you know that IKEA takes a yearly survey to ask people around the world this question, “What makes a better life at home?” (you can find this information here) In 2018 these were the five results that appeared over and over again:
In scripture there is a famous story that illustrates the fact that Jesus requires His followers to step away from comfort in order to prove faith. Jesus asked the rich young ruler to, “Follow me.”
What He really meant was…
Follow me everyday, every hour, every minute, every second.
Follow me and leave everyone you love behind you, even if they don’t understand.
Follow me with no house, no bed, no pillow.
Follow me and be hungry, hot, cold, and wet.
Follow me with one set of clothing, no soap, and lots of bugs.
Follow me and be cursed, beaten, and tempted constantly.
Oh, and sell everything you own and give it to the poor.
The scripture says that the young man sadly walked away. (read the story here) It wasn’t just money that Jesus commanded him to leave behind. His mind saw the reality of discipleship, and he was overcome with fear of a future with Jesus.
But there was a different reaction by the apostles when they were given the same invitation by Jesus to, “Follow me.” Unlike the rich young ruler, these apostles didn’t care about the deficits they might be facing. They joyfully stepped out of life as they knew it, into an adventure of a lifetime, Jesus.
Can you apply a modern day example for your life here? What is He asking you to do that makes you uncomfortable? I know there is something, because scripture says Jesus continually asks His followers to deny themselves.
He’s standing at your door and knocking. Not pounding. Not yelling. He’s just knocking and knocking and knocking and knocking…for as long as it takes for you to open the door. Then the most exciting thing will happen y’all. Scripture says He will come into your house and eat with you as a friends. Meals are where we linger, where bonds are made. Meals are sharing of nourishment, soul and body. Will you be uncomfortable? Probably. Will you cry? Most likely. Will He require much? Yes, He always does. Will He abandon you when you take a beating? Never. Will His love make all the difference? For sure.
This life of following Jesus is hard. To me though, every bump along the way has seemed like a paper cut compared to the deep, spiritual mentoring I have received from Him. But beware! The enemy will do everything in his power to keep your hand off of the doorknob. If fear presses you to bolt the door, then you will stay comfortable, but sadness will overtake you. Just like the rich young ruler in this story. It won’t matter though, Jesus will keep knocking. I love that about Him.
Lord, I pray over the person who reads this post and knows in her heart that Jesus is asking her to step up or step out. Fill her with courage to move forward with You.
These have been comments on the Words of Jesus in Matthew 19:16-22
The picture used is our Cambodia front doors with flowers from the garden in the foreground.
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