I love to be comfortable. Just ask my husband, he will tell you after working all day I can’t wait to climb into my “comfy clothes” (otherwise known as yoga pants and a t-shirt). In the winter months, I could be found in pjs as early as 5:00 pm. Phil sees me and just shakes his head and laughs.
I also like to hang around good friends, eat good food, and read good books. I much prefer these activities over interacting with strangers, fasting, and public speaking. If you’ve read my blogs before, you already know my tendency toward being an introvert. I enjoy being comfortable, that’s all there is to it.
Don’t get confused, I like to get out and about and love the outdoors. I even love tent camping… as long as the weather is great and I have an air mattress and remember everything for s’mores.
How much comfort can one person stand? Is being comfortable a legitimate goal in life? If I was able to remain in a state of constant comfort, say, wearing my non yoga-ing yoga pants, while reading a good book and eating as many Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzards as I desired, would I be happy? HECK YES!!! …for about one day, maybe two… okay a week max.
Your version of comfort may be a little different than mine (you may prefer cookie dough Blizzards, I get that), but my point is we all have comfort zones. These are very real and very appealing.
So appealing that we can, if we allow ourselves to be led astray, work our whole lives trying to gain or maintain our ideal comfort zone and be able to spend as much time in it as possible. Or we work the best years of our lives so we can retire and spend the remaining years living in the ways we are most comfortable.
Here is the big question: did Jesus die so that we could experience comfort? Another way to state it: is your comfort worth Jesus dying for?
Agh! Why did I have to go and ruin it for you? Replace the word “comfort” with “happiness” or “success” if you want. Those are just other words to describe your comfort zone.
You see, I don’t buy into the “American Dream” that the world tries to sell me. I don’t buy into any ideals the world tries to sell me. Dead end pursuits that are fun and cozy along the way still lead to dead ends.
Just as your final destination determines the route you take on a journey, so should your final eternal destination determine the route you take while on Earth.
Too many of us get pulled away by the cares of this world and get convinced that the “comfort zone pursuits” of this mortal life are worthy of our time and energies and even eventually our souls. It is so sad a thing to live for, so very temporary.
God says in Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” And in Zephaniah 1:12 “I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’”
So, this is why I so often ask God to please, “Kick me!” Kick me out of my comfort zone; don’t allow me to be pulled into an apathetic lifestyle or complacent way of thinking. Do whatever is necessary to keep me about Kingdom business and not my own.
Oh, he is so faithful in this! As he slaps that Blizzard out of my hand and tells me to get dressed like a big girl. Time to be un-cozy for the glory of God and for my own good.
This is what keeps me ministering to women, holding Bible studies, and staying up way too late writing blogs. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.
Did you hear that? He has work for us to do! Why? Because he created us specifically for these specific tasks eons ago. Ladies, this means something!
If God is the Potter and we are the clay would we prefer he keep his hands off us and allow us to sit as a useless blob? No! Please fashion me into something useful that displays your goodness, Lord! No matter how painful or pleasurable, mold me as it pleases you, for “all things were created through [you] and for [you].” Colossians 1:16.
So, yes, “kick me” is often a prayer I pray. I need it. I mean it. I too easily hold on to my comfort zone. But, oh, when you get out of it and are willing to fully trust God, what a beautiful thing it is! What a glorious feeling to be used for the purposes of a great God. There is no better place to be.
“There are never enough hours in the day!” Ladies, do you find yourself saying that often? I sure do. As if God has given us more work than we are able to complete in the 24 hours he has given us to do it in. Something in our day usually has to give, we simply can’t (or won’t) get everything done. Too often what gets pushed off our schedule is time in the Bible or prayer. By the end of the day we are spent and exhausted and tell ourselves that it just can’t happen today, but maybe with a little luck tomorrow will be better. There is always tomorrow… or next week… or next year…
There is no way around it, you only have 24 hours in a day, that will never change (okay, daylight savings time messes things up twice a year, but it evens out). God is perfect, so how he set up our measure of time and the hours set in a day is also perfect. You don’t need more time. That is not our problem. I fully believe that if we were given 30 hours in a day we would still find ourselves in the same position and asking for more. Do not accuse God of being stingy in his blessing of giving you any time at all.
I believe God desires us to have this sense of limited time, a sense that time is flying by. Why? Well for one, I can feel it every day of my life. I am amazed at how quickly the weeks go by, how fast my children grow, and how the years slip by faster and faster. More importantly, I see it in Scripture. God gives us many reminders of how limited our time here on Earth is. Here are just a couple:
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – James 4:14
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” – Psalms 39:4
Having the knowledge that our earthly time truly is short and purposefully designed that way by God should lead us to some important conclusions.
First, we need to use our time wisely. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Understand the will of God so that you can walk through life in wisdom.
We get this wisdom from God’s Word, so Bible reading needs to be at the top of your list instead of at the bottom. We need to prioritize our days carefully. Some items on our agenda will have to be removed to make room for what is truly important. This could mean forgoing the baseball or softball tournament teams so your family can be in church on Sundays. This may mean getting rid of television so that it is no longer a distraction for you or your family. How you spend your days is how you spend your life, therefore “look carefully then how you walk” as instructed.
Secondly, we need to live for our eternal life not our earthly life. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – Colossians 3:2. This breath of a life is not worth living for, not worth spending our riches and resources on, not worth giving our soul for. We need to invest all of our treasures in Heaven (Matt. 6:20). We need to spend ourselves on what will last forever. For
Christians, this earth is just a temporary stop before we go to our forever home in Heaven; send your goods on ahead of you instead of hoarding dust here. For non-Christians, this place is as good as you get, dust is as good as you can ever hope for.
Finally, we need to understand that the minutes of our lives are like sand pouring through an hourglass; and we don’t know how much sand we have left. We need to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to our loved ones and to the nations. This is the work we need to be about (Matt. 28:19). We shouldn’t wait for a better time; there may not be more time. Let the urgency of this affect the way you live each day. Proclaim Christ always.
Let Psalms 90:12 be your prayer, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Limited time on earth is truly a great blessing from God. If we belong to him we should long to be with him in glory, not toiling away here on earth. We should yearn to be home. Today I enCOURAGE you to praise God that your days are flying by, praise God that we are but a mist and so very fleeting, praise God that we will be soon be with him in glory! Revelation 22:20 - “’Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Read the Bible as much as you possibly can every day of your life. There you go, Ladies. You have my life’s ministry in a nutshell. That really is all there is to it. Just read your Bible, a lot.
Read it Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Read it on holidays, read it on vacations, read it when you are tired, read it when you are sick, read it when you are happy and healthy. Most importantly read it when you really, really don’t feel like it.
What about going to church, doing good deeds, witnessing, discipling, praying, preaching, and teaching, correcting, forgiving, and loving? Yep, it’s in there. If you are reading God’s Word faithfully as a follower of Christ the rest will follow. If you are making a daily habit of consuming the authoritative, powerful Word of the creator of the Universe, obedience follows.
Desire a better marriage? Want to know how to deal with your children? How to manage your money? How to deal with a person that drives you crazy? How to be better at everything? Yeah, it’s all in the Bible. Go find it.
Quit your complaining that you never got a handbook on how to live life in this world. Quit the excuses that you aren’t smart enough to understand it. Quit thinking that it’s some else’s job to read it and then explain it to you. Quit falling prey to the Devil’s schemes of easy excuses.
Oh, you don’t have time? You are too busy, I understand. Have you slept or eaten in the past 24 hours? Yes? Well then you had time for the Bible. Sorry, nice try.
Am I being hard on you? You bet I am. Whoever you are reading this, I love you way too much to be anything less. I care about your eternity as well as the fullness of your life on Earth and how it impacts others for Christ. I want you to live a life that points to God continually and brings him honor. You will never be happy otherwise, never.
Not sure where to start? Pick a gospel (the Good News about Jesus Christ), Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Mark is a nice, short and straightforward gospel; John is spiritually rich and a bit deeper. Luke has the beautiful Christmas story and Matthew the genealogy of Christ. Pick one, you can’t choose wrong. After learning about Jesus, continue on with the story in Acts and meet Paul. Learn about the Holy Spirit, discover the beginnings of the Church and read about Paul’s trials and journeys. Then continue on to read some of Paul’s letters that he wrote to Churches like in Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians and more. These words still apply to us today, if you belong to the family of God. Read them as if they were written for you and for your life today (they were and they are).
Why do I believe in the Word of God so much? It has changed my life. Without the Word of God, I walk in darkness and confusion. Psalms 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” It’s the only way to illuminate my walkway of life.
Without the Word of God I starve and have no life within me. Matthew 4:4 (Deut. 8:3) “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” I need spiritual food that only comes from the Scriptures.
Without the Word of God I fall prey to my enemy, I have no weapon to fight with. Ephesians 6:17 “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” I love to win, so you better believe I will have in my hand the mightiest weapon possible.
Without the Word of God I have no standard of truth. John 17:17 “Sanctify them in your truth, your word is truth.” I won’t settle for less than absolute truth. I want my life planted on the bedrock of Christ.
Finally, without the Word of God, I am doomed to suffer forever. John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus is the Word of God, receiving him brings me eternal life.
The Word of God can change your life too, but only if you read it. You can’t carry it around and hope to absorb it by osmosis. You have to open it up and read the words on the pages. Don’t believe me, try it and let’s talk. Need help getting started? Ask me, you would make my day.
Ladies, have you ever wished you had a big “reset” button? I sure do. Days where I could start everything all over again just by pushing that big button. I would jump back in bed, fall asleep and wake up to begin the same day over. Only this time, do things differently. Sometimes this happens when I haven’t prepared enough for the busy day ahead - I push the snooze button one too many times, I realize I haven’t washed my work uniforms, I’m finally ready to leave and the gas tank is empty. Other times, despite my best efforts, nothing seems to go right - my hair looks funny, the dog pukes on the carpet, one of the kids spills their bowl of cereal, I get assigned an extra project at work.
To be honest with you, the times I usually wish to restart the day is when I have not used my time wisely. It’s the days I get lazy and don’t get done what I know I should have. Oh, I may have stayed “busy” on those days but I neglected the truly important things. I didn’t spend time with God like I should have, I didn’t demonstrate Christ to my children or spouse, or I didn’t reach out to help or encourage someone else. Those are the most frustrating days for me. I always seem to realize it when the day is coming to a close. As I plop into bed I feel an uneasiness that I know is from the Holy Spirit. Pains from a day wasted on business again. What an uncomfortable feeling. I can only compare it to when I was a child and the feeling I got when I knew I disappointed my parents. Yuck. Do-over please!
I know many of you reading this are thinking I need to get a grip. Maybe you think, “I read the Bible enough and I go to church; I am a nice person and I can’t be expected to reach out to someone every day. I just need to give myself a break!” Umm… no. What God has called me to, I should not run from or neglect. I can’t just busy myself with other things to keep from doing my real work. That’s just Satan’s way of knocking me off course, he likes me off task. So I should hate it.
I relate so well to Paul in Romans 7:15, 17-19 when he says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” I know what I should be spending my time on throughout my day, but instead I find myself staying occupied with other “important” tasks. I spend my energy on Earthly matters instead of Eternal matter. What a fool; what an easy target for the Enemy I allow myself to be! Paul expresses this perfectly in verse 24 when he says, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Fortunately Paul goes right on to give the answer to his own question in verse 25. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Jesus is the answer! More specifically what Jesus has done for us in his act of salvation is where we find our power. He died in our place so that we would not have to be a slave to sin any longer. This means that I can stop playing the fool in my daily life. I need to remember Jesus and that he has already beat sin for me. I can stop being a slave to whatever business the Devil dangles before me and begin to see my daily life as having eternal significance. This I can do only through the grace of Jesus and through his power.
I have failed to use my days wisely so many times and continue to do so, but I find so much encouragement in 2 Timothy 2:13, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful.” Despite our failures at being faithful to God’s calling in our lives, that does not change the goodness of God. He will always remain faithful to us. He will always restore us back to himself.
So with the power granted to you through Jesus Christ get off the computer and pick up your Bible. Go encourage yourself, your family or a friend with the Word of God right now! Don’t waste another minute of this day!