Believe it or not, our greatest enemy is probably not the devil. At least, not directly. We already know about him and his evil intent. We watch and pray and take authority over his actions as believers. But something much more insidious and dangerous lurks within us…and that’s our comfort zone. You probably already know this but it’s a good reminder as we begin a new year.
The truth is, nothing ever changes in your comfort zone. Not physically, emotionally, professionally…and certainly not spiritually. You were never meant to live there any more than you were meant to live inside of a box.
Think about it. When was the last time you lost weight without changing your diet and/or without getting regular exercise? (If you did, it was probably because of something more seriously wrong with you.)
On a very natural level, our American comfort zone of convenience is literally killing us.
Ironically, our cultural blessings are also our greatest hindrance to thriving and flourishing as human beings. Many of us lead basically sedentary lives and eat processed foods that are probably not actually good for human consumption, so now we have all kinds of diseases related to diet, stress, and other poor health habits. But I digress…
We’re being systematically programmed for comfort with more amazing distractions of smaller, faster, higher definition of whatever you need…except whatever it takes to thrive.
Of course, this is not new information. It’s not that we don’t know this; it’s just that we’re not inclined to do anything about it.
And I’m especially talking about me.
Our New Year’s resolutions fail because they get swallowed up in the sea of inertia. We prefer certainty and sameness.
The problem is, thriving and flourishing never happens in our comfort zone. Now, I’m not talking about maintaining a healthy ebb and flow between work and rest, or being crazy and presumptuous for Jesus. I’m talking about repenting from living a lifestyle where nothing ever happens unless the outcome can be guaranteed.
The naked truth is, we don’t want to change because of fear and unbelief. We may sincerely believe in God but we don’t always believe God. That requires stepping out in faith. We’re afraid that we might fail, miss God, or maybe God won’t come through for us.
But faith is spelled R-I-S-K.
I’ve been intentionally getting out of my own personal box pretty much every day this year. It’s both uncomfortable and exhilarating. One such time was last Sunday morning. Here’s what happened:
Our people give testimonies of God’s goodness every week. I walk around with the microphone and people share. Last Sunday a couple shared that even though they were struggling financially (husband cannot work because of a disability), they were trusting God. All the while they’re speaking God is telling me, “Take them up front and put $20 at their feet as an act of My intention to bless them. Then invite others to put whatever they can as an act of support and encouragement.” I’m arguing with Him and rationalizing the whole time in my mind …I can just bless them outside of the meeting…this would be too embarrassing for them (and me!)…this must be just me thinking this…” Blah…blah…blah. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know that God’s voice only gets more persistent when you argue!
Of course, I could’ve just suppressed this inclination as I’ve done so many times before and moved on. God would still love me and I would still be the same. Instead, I swallowed my fear and pride and brought them up front. I did what I felt the Lord told me to do and invited others to join me. Most of the congregation did. The effect was immediate. The wife just broke down crying tears of joy and gratitude. The husband was visibly moved and dumbstruck as he hugged his wife. We embraced them both and prayed that God would multiply this symbolic gesture like the fishes and the loaves.
From that moment on, the atmosphere of the meeting shifted from one of just going through the motions on a Sunday morning to awakening and hope. Other people shared how it had affected them. And it was all because I simply got out of my “pastor is in control” comfort zone and let God touch a faithful couple in need.
And the beauty of all this is…anyone can do it.
This is was what Matthew Kelly calls a “holy moment.” He describes it this way:
“A holy moment is a moment when you open yourself to God. You make yourself available to him. You set aside what you feel like doing in that moment, and you set aside self-interest, and for one moment you simply do what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do in that moment. It’s a moment when you are being the person God created you to be, and you are doing what you believe God is calling you to do. (The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, p.35-36)
A holy moment is when we get out of our comfort zone and let Jesus pour Himself out into the world through us. Beloved of God, your adventure is waiting on the other side of your comfort zone. Remember, fear is a liar and complacency offers frail security.
There is a thief in your life who who wants to rob you of your destiny and all the fullness and richness of life that God has intended for you. And one way he does this is by lulling you to sleep with your comfort zone.
A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! (John 10:10 TPT)
Know that you were meant to overflow, and that all of heaven is cheering you on.
And so am I.