“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Cor. 4:7-11
“From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.” 2 Cor. 11:24-31
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:7-14
If there is one lesson I’ve learned being on the road for about 1.5 years now for the Lord and ministry, and I’ve learned many thus far, it’s that I can’t afford to let comfort make my decisions. But this isn’t true just for me, nor is it true just when it comes to being out on the road for the Lord or when it comes to those called into full-time ministry. The life of a Christ follower is not to fall under the lordship of comfort. It’s to fall under the lordship of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Comfort is not to be our god. Comfort is not to rule and reign in our lives. Comfort is not to make our decisions. Comfort is a blessing, without a doubt, but it should never be more than a blessing. We should not submit to it, yield to it, surrender to it, bow down to it, honor and praise it, worship it, and live by it. Comfort should not be anything more than comfort. Our only God, our only Lord, our only master, should be THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! Comfort must never be our god!
I write this as I sit in yet another hotel room with my laptop perched on a dog crate surrounded by my 5 special needs ministry dogs looking at the piles of most of the few physical belongings I have left in this world, considering the fully paid for house I used to own not too far from the beach in an awesome warm and economical beautiful climate and environment with friends nearby, thinking how in just days I will climb back in my car with 245,000 miles on it with the dogs and their supplies and my Bible, laptop, and few remaining belongings off to a city I don’t ever recall having visited and certainly have never lived in. Just weeks, mind you, after spending six months ministering in New York City – not the most comfortable experience to say the least. My life is not about comfort as it once was. Now it’s all about Christ – and about telling the world about Him!
How do I make my decisions, both big and small? By seeking God, hearing God, studying His Word, seeking godly counsel if and as He leads, and doing my very best to discern His voice speaking to my heart and to obey Him in His strength for His glory. Not according to what’s comfortable.
Our world and modern day culture teach us to make decisions based on what makes us happy and comfortable, but that’s not the way of the Lord. His way is for us to lovingly humbly reverently adoringly submissively yield ourselves to Him and His Word to live to bring Him praise, honor, and glory.
In the verses above, the apostle Paul makes abundantly clear what he suffered in choosing Christ over comfort. My sacrifices and suffering are literally nothing compared with his and with that of so many others who have served Jesus throughout time. But whether our sacrifices and suffering in choosing Christ over comfort are infinitely great or infinitely small, or somewhere in between, the same is true for all who choose to forsake all for Jesus.
There is nothing and nobody in the universe more precious, beautiful, wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, and splendorous and glorious than the Lord God almighty and no greater honor, privilege, and blessing than turning away from the world’s ways and denying one’s fleshly desires to fully follow the Lord Jesus Christ now and forevermore, HALLELUJAH!
The temporal hardship of forsaking comfort for Christ, of choosing God’s ways over our ways, of following Jesus instead of following the world, of giving up what God desires we give up and to be totally devoted to Him not ourselves instead, is absolutely nothing when compared with the boundless joy and immeasurable hope and unfathomable love and indescribable blessedness of being loved by and loving Jesus now and forevermore, AMEN!