There are many ways in which one could describe our culture. One way would be to describe it as comfortable. It is not uncommon for us to use the phrase, “I just want to be comfortable” which is just another way to say, “I just want things to be easy.”
I would like to believe this mentality changes upon becoming a Christian, but I fear the ruts of easy street go deep into our hearts. We hesitate to take risks in our walk with Christ, we instead continue to in the way of the world and pursue the so called, American Dream.
There are many problems with this idea of Christian comfort. For one, it is boring, but more importantly it is just not Biblical. For those who think being Christian means a walk down easy street have obviously not read the New Testament.
- “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life.” - Matthew 7:14
- “In the world you will have tribulation” – John 16:33
- “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:33
- "And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13
This is just a sampling from the Gospels, and doesn’t include the wild ride of the Book of Acts. Make no mistake, if you want worldly comfort, you won’t find it in Christ; however, what you will find is far greater.
In Exodus 15:1 we see a celebration. Why are they celebrating? Because God had just shown up and done something amazing for His Glory and for their good. Many of you know the Passover story thanks to Charlton Heston, and the movie Ten Commandments, but you may not know the path out of Egypt and to the Red Sea was not the easy road.
- “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, ‘Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.’ But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.” - Exodus 13:17-18
The door that was easiest for the Israelites was the way of the Philistines. It was like the open door that we so often we look for when making life decisions. God, however, did not lead his people down the easy path. He led them straight to a closed door, and not only a closed door but a perceived death trap.
However, it was because of this death trap that God was able to display his Glory in a way that caused His name to be praised. For the only way out of the situation (Egypt’s Army on one side and the Red Sea on the other) was complete and utter reliance on God. It was at this end of the rope moment that God stepped in and “gloriously triumphed.”
To bring this back to ourselves, I can’t help but think that we tend to look for the way of the Philistines when making life’s decisions. We wrongly believe that God would only call us to do something that we are comfortable with; therefore, few people take risks for God. We don’t proclaim the Gospel at work, we don’t take mission trips to dangerous places, we don’t give money until it hurts, and we don’t volunteer at a local mission to name a few. Instead we choose the easy way, we choose what is comfortable, we avoid tension, we avoid discomfort.
When we do this we shouldn’t be surprised when our walk with the Lord is stale. We shouldn’t be surprised when we yearn for something more than just small groups and a chai. As Christians, we are called to surrender to Him and obey his calling, no matter what the cost. We are called to go the way of the wilderness. If we do, we will see God do amazing things in our life for His Glory and for our good.