It seems like the older I get the more I seek comfort…comfortable clothes, comfortable bed, comfortable relationships. In a society that seeks and sells comfort at every turn it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Jesus didn’t call His followers to a life of comfort but to a life of surrender. This doesn’t mean we are left on our own to trudge through life but the truth of what it means to follow Jesus also means that we serve the God of all comfort!
2 Corinthians 1 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
In this epistle the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth and wants them to know that although life will bring trials and suffering, they are not alone in that suffering. God Himself will have compassion on His children and comfort them. This comfort is not like the comfort of the world, but this comfort will speak deep down into their soul. This comfort will wrap them in the unshakable hope of eternity with their Father and this comfort will give them strength to persevere and remain faithful.
The words Paul wrote to the Corinthians are the words still spoken to us today. The unchanging God still calls us to live surrendered and still comforts us with His heavenly comfort.
The thing about comfort is that there must be a need for it. There must be a pain, hardship, uncomfortable something or other for us to seek comfort and for God to bestow it. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul is again writing to the church in Corinth to remind them that their freedom in Christ; their calling to know Him and make Him known is a life of surrender. He explains that although he is free he surrenders his comfort to be a slave to others for the sake of the Gospel. He illustrates this concept by talking about how an athlete trains their body to win the competition.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
As an athlete for the majority of my life I have experienced this illustration on a real level. To gain strength, endurance, and mental and physical fortitude you have to participate in uncomfortable training. It is vital for any competitive athlete to continue to push past their comfort zone in order to reach their next level. Getting out of your comfort zone is where “the magic happens.”
As followers of Christ, our training is not for a temporary prize but rather a response to the grace lavished upon us. Jesus never promised our life would be pain free but He did promise us HIMSELF forever and ever. The more we experience depending on Him and less on our own forms of comfort the more we walk out our calling.
Where are you choosing comfort over the calling God has placed on your life?
Where are you seeking comfort that will never satisfy your soul?
(Comfort is not just cozy bathrobes and luxurious spas, but we often seek comfort in food, in shopping, in mindless entertainment. We often miss opportunities to share our faith because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable or we keep our money and possessions close fisted because we don’t want to risk losing anything- as if they actually belong to us anyways.)
I urge you sisters in Christ, throw off everything that hinders you and pursue holiness. Live out the calling to follow Jesus no matter the cost and don’t be fooled by the empty promises of worldly comfort.
May you seek the face of our Lord Jesus and be content in every situation. May you surrender yourself for the sake of the Gospel and may you experience the God of all comfort in a tangible way.
Equipping Minister, The Church of Eleven22
Content Manager, The Truth Republic