True church life is NEVER comfortable for the old/natural man. True Body life will always have an aspect of discomfort to it.
I get it that this isn’t great to hear. This is definitely NOT how to get loads of people interested in church, but it is an essential part of counting the cost.
If you are only interested in body life so far as it doesn’t cause you any discomfort, you will never truly experience body life.
And I’m not talking only about the discomfort of dealing with messy people. I’m talking about the discomfort of denying yourself so that Christ has His way.
- for the naturally quiet person who doesn’t like speaking in front of groups, the discomfort of speaking up in the group and sharing what the Lord has given them
- for the naturally talkative person who always has something to say, the discomfort of remaining silent, genuinely listening to the brothers and sisters, and learning to only speak when the Lord leads, rather than sharing every single thought
- for the person who isn’t confident hosting people in their home, the discomfort of opening their doors and letting the brothers and sisters in
- for the homebody, the discomfort of getting out of the house and spending time with the church
- for the decisive, take charge person, the discomfort of waiting on the brothers and sisters to make a decision and start taking some action
- for the indecisive, doesn’t-like-change person, the discomfort of making a decision and taking some action
- for the person who has been burned by “the system”, the discomfort of sometimes doing things that are similar to “the system”
- for the person who was happy in “the system”, the discomfort of doing things differently from “the system”
- for the person who is happy living their own, individual life, the discomfort of submitting to the brothers and sisters (this one is all of us in some way, btw)
- for the independent person, the discomfort of depending on the brothers and sisters
- for the dependent person, the discomfort of others depending on you
- for the organized, always-have-a-plan person, the discomfort of “going with the flow”
- for the wing-it, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person, the discomfort of taking the time to make a plan and to stick with it
- for the person who feels the Lord has given them a great idea for the church, the discomfort when the church wants to tweak it
- for the person who loves to do all the things, the discomfort of simplifying your life so the church has priority
- for the person who loves to be right, the discomfort of admitting when you are wrong
- for the person who easily finds faults in others, the discomfort of believing the best about the brothers and sisters
- for the person who hates conflict, the discomfort of standing up for the Lord and His purpose
- for the person who loves to be well thought of, the discomfort of getting close enough to others that they see your shortcomings
- for the person who likes to have all the answers, the discomfort of the Divine Mystery
- for the person who likes to have hard evidence, the discomfort of faith
I could literally go on and on. Body life touches every aspect of the natural man, and the refusal to deny the natural man is the greatest obstacle to Body life.
Body life happens outside our comfort zones.
One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. -Abraham Maslow
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” -Jesus
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. -Jesus
We must daily continue to choose it. I looked up the synonyms for “abide”. They are: continue, persevere, persist, remain, keep on, endure, dwell, settle, stay. There is an element of choice involved.
So many give up. So many decide the cost is too high. And I’m gonna be real with y’all: in my experience it doesn’t get easier for the natural man. In many ways it gets even more uncomfortable. I believe this is why scripture so often exhorts us to overcome.
So, what’s the reward then? What do we gain through abiding? Through remaining outside our comfort zones?
So much more of Jesus Christ.
I have found that outside our comfort zones is where there is so much more room for Him. More room for His glorious majesty. More room for His perfect peace. More room for His complete satisfaction. More room for His unending joy. More room for His amazing rest. More room for His mighty power. More room for His sweet presence. More room for His unfailing love. More room for Him. Sweet Jesus. Precious Lord.
More room for the Reality. More room for the All in all. More room for the King of Kings. More room for the first and the last. More room for the I AM. More room for the Great High Priest. More room for the True Bread. More room for the Promised Land.
Saints, can there be a greater purpose than to be the very increase of Christ?
No. No there can’t.
His increase is outside our comfort zones, and we can only get there together.