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Comfort

COMFORT… is everyone’s pursuit, at least it would seem. A nice quiet home, plenty of food, a comfortable bed and a cushy sofa in a great media center with the biggest screen that you can fit into the room. No stress, no hassles; that’s what we all want and strive for. When it’s a noun, it is a condition or feeling of pleasurable ease, well-being and contentment. When it’s a verb, it means to soothe in time of affliction or distress; maybe to give strength and hope. The opposite would seem to be discomfort. And no one wants that!

 

Remember when the only way to watch a football game was out in the elements? Well, many still do, but some now demand a comfort-filled suite, at least those with the big bucks. Mega-millions are spent by owners and cities to cover the stadium from ‘the elements’, so that ‘the fans’ and ‘the players’ can watch and perform in a climate-controlled environment.

 

Beds may cost tens of thousands of dollars to ‘fit’ your body. No more peas bothering the princess!

 

Gadgets on autos are now designed for your complete driving and operating comfort.

 

Simply put, if you have enough money, you can purchase comfort for every part of your life. Western civilization is consumed with comfort. I remember my first few mission trips to Romania and Cuba. Wow, people really have to live this way? Cold showers, very coarse toilet paper (or worse still, none at all), no climate controlled rooms, old taxis and buses, lumpy beds–I will stop lest I should dissuade someone from going.

 

Not that some of these comforts are all bad, but are we missing something valuable in our lives by spending so much time and resources on our personal ease and comfort?

 

Let’s take a moment and reflect on the life of Jesus:

  • Laid down His ‘perfect comfort’ in heaven
  • Born into this world in a lowly cattle stable and feeding trough
  • From age 12-30 He worked with His hands as a carpenter
  • Became the ‘missionary of missionaries’ and had no permanent home
  • No bed to lie in
  • No earthly possessions
  • No means of transportation except his feet, smelly fishing boats and some donkeys
  • Labored in the Israel heat
  • Was a hunted criminal by the Jewish authorities
  • Tried and wrongly convicted
  • Beaten, mocked, spit upon, verbally abused and crucified as a criminal.

And along the way He said He hoped we could experience His joy! Wow! Listen to Jesus’ words. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:11). No earthly comforts but abounding joy! Pause–can you and I say this? Or is there only joy in our lives when we have comfort?

Folks, He also said that unless we lose our lives of comfort we cannot partake in His abundant life. And by grace He has sent His Comforter to empower us to fulfill His commands. We live in a sin-filled world where pain is real, suffering is everywhere and evil abounds! Hiding out in our ‘comfort-zones’ just won’t give us His joy. We’ve got to break out, get our hands dirty, give ourselves and our ‘stuff” away to those who really need it just to survive. God sent His Spirit because He knew that His people would be occupying a hostile world. He is our comfort, our refuge, our very present help in trouble! And He says that we can be a comfort to others who are suffering. That’s real joy my friends!

 

Everything that Jesus declared while on earth spoke of trials and discomfort–for His sake and to the glory of the Father. Our steadfast obedience through faith glorifies God! Would you agree with me that being blessed translates into receiving comfort? Listen to Jesus! “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake” (Lk. 6:22). Is this our or the world’s view of being blessed and receiving comfort? Have you ever made the connection between mourning and comfort? “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt. 5:4).

 

The gospel is simply an inverted way of life. Seek to save your life, you lose it; pursue the world’s comfort and you forfeit the joy of the Lord. Jesus concludes the Beatitudes this way. I like the way The Message says it: ‘You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that–count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens–give a cheer, even! For though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble” (Mt. 5:11-12).

 

So, getting into trouble for the gospel brings blessed comfort? Then how ’bout you and I go and stir up some mischief for Jesus. He did a whole lot of that while He was here for the sake of the Kingdom! We could start the “Messiah’s Mischief Makers!” Which of us will throw out the first ‘gospel grenade’? Well, just maybe Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty has already done it!

 

“O tidings of comfort and joy!Merry Christmas!

 

Copyright 2013

Bill C. Dotson

www.lifespeakstous.com

bill@abidingfathers.org

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version and The Message

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