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May 17, 2017, 5:00 AM

In what ways do you idolize comfort and convenience?

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  Matthew 16:24-26


As I type these words, I’m setting in my living room.  The air conditioning is set at a comfortable 73 degrees – not too hot, not too cold.  Even though I reside in little west Texas town, the world is literally at my fingertips thanks to my iPhone that sits on the side table. It’s filled with numerous apps whose sole purpose is to make my life run efficiently and almost effortlessly. Currently, I’m sitting with my feet propped up, on my rocking recliner love seat. Thanks to my noise cancelling headphones, there are no distractions or interruptions. The only sounds I hear are the tunes coming from my personally crafted Pandora music station. Somehow this radio station knows the exact song I want to hear every single time. 


With my world set just perfectly, I’m now ready to tackle my writing assignment: How do you deny yourself in a culture that says it’s all about you? Ouch, just typing those words causes me to squirm in my seat. Chances are good, it aroused the same reaction in you. We can feel the tension that comes with pondering this weighty question, especially while I’m enjoying Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a recliner all from my the comfort of my living room.


Let’s be honest, no one likes feeling uncomfortable. Very few of us seek out ways to be inconvenienced. In fact, comfort and convenience are viewed as the highest values in today’s culture. We are living in a convenient world and we are comfort seeking boys and girls. The media bombards us with constant messages attempting to convince us that the entire world revolves around our comfort and convenience. These two qualities are the standard we judge everything else against.


They determine whether we label a day as good or we throw those 24-hours in the bad pile. We base the majority of our decisions, both big and small, around a single question – will this make our life run smoothly with little to no discomfort or disruption? Comfort and convenience influence and impact our daily plans, our checkbook, our families, our friendships, and even our relationship with God. With comfort and convenience serving as the dominant idols in our culture, many of us have unknowingly bowed down to them.


Like many other things God created, comfort and convenience aren’t in themselves bad or evil. The problem arises when our personal comfort trumps everything else and it becomes the thing we worship. As a church community, we want to pause and reflect on the places where we’ve grown comfortable in our faith, our relationships and our thinking. Just like the cozy love seat I’m reclining in, convenience and comfort don’t encourage us to put our faith into action.


Rather than answering the “HOW,” we’ve got to first spend some time exploring the “WHY.” Why should we deny ourselves in a culture that says it’s all about us? Until we can answer this question, the execution of the HOW is irrelevant. This is a scary venture for sure. Our natural reaction will be to hesitate. In our “me” focused world, it makes sense why Christ’s radical call to abandon ourselves would be met with resistance. But, you can’t carry a cross without the willingness to let go of your comfort. In what ways do you idolize comfort and convenience?


This is my Prayer: Father God, in my pursuit of comfort and convenience, I’ve lost sight of the fact that my agenda isn’t the most important. As a believer, You call me to deny myself and pick up my cross. Open my eyes today to the ways I can be used to bring You glory, even if it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. Amen.

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