comfort vs. comfortable christianity.
We all know the term. Used to describe a believer who is complacent, who doesn't take action, who shows up to church on any given Sunday but does little else. We have all been there, I was in that headspace when I started this blog. We lack motivation, we lack discipline, and we lack desire to pursue God. It's an easy hole to fall in, it's dark and even comforting, it is simple and does not require much effort and we tell ourselves that it is okay because we still believe.
But are we not more?
All too often we as Christians cannot separate comfort from God and living a life of comfortable Christianity. And here we will try and discern the two.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Rest. It is easy to read such a word and think of rest in the context of a break from your troubles, a break from whatever life is throwing at you, a moment to just breathe. And that may be, but when Jesus tells us to rest it is not a scapegoat. The resting is for our hearts, is for the heaviness that resides in them, the bitterness, the aching, the rest is for our hearts. Jesus asking us to give to Him our troubles. And while that seems so easy in a sentence, letting go is not an easy feat.
I, for one, can talk to God one night, tell Him that I am just going to give it all to Him, place it in His hands because I know it is bigger than me, that I was never intended to handle it alone, and I can rest easy that night, thinking, that was it, I've given it to God. But, I'll wake up, the same traitorous worry and trouble on my heart, it never left. Some days it feels like it never will.
And then Matthew 11:28 comes in, "Come to me," he says, "I will give you rest." That rest is not a day where work is less stressful, it doesn't mean the bank won't call about that bill you still haven't paid, it doesn't mean your car won't have a day without any normal breakdowns, all of that is outside of you. But it may mean that you're in a better headspace to handle that stress at work, that when the bank calls this time you tell them you'll have it in by the end of the week, and you will, that when your car breaks down, you will have the lightness in your soul to just take a step back and look up to God and say, "Thank You for letting me even get this far," as you dial the towing companies number.
Often times we search for God to do work outside of us and never look for the tools he gives us internally to help better deal with the chaos around us. There is no greater peace than a peace of mind. And only spiritual rest, brings true, lasting comfort. However, we have to be open to this rest. It's hard. So, so hard. For prideful hearts to become vulnerable, even to their Father, to put it in His hands and say, "Take it, it is bigger than me!" And mean it. Because doing so would be admitting we cannot handle it, that we cannot deal with it, that we need to pass it on, and who wants to do admit defeat?
Trust. You have to have trust. Just like in a relationship, you must have trust. A impenetrable trust, one that says, "I can be vulnerable with you." It is easier to place that trust in a human, when we confide in others, we place that trust in them, when we seek their advice, we place it tenfold. So why do we struggle to see our fault when it comes to our creator? The one who has a love so pure, nothing we could have ever done would keep Him from chasing us?
Because we believe Him to be satisfied when He sees that we have dragged ourselves to the backrow pew on Sunday. That that alone is enough. That us acknowledging His existence and even saying that we accept Him into our hearts with no further action is enough. But is it?
A relationship is ongoing, never complacent. It never stops growing, or shouldn't. We should always be blooming, morphing, growing into something better than we were the day before. How is our relationship with God different in that way? Should it not be being fed constantly so that it will also grow? Should we not be learning about Him with the same eagerness that we do a new boyfriend, or even a friend? You see, they tie together.
One cannot be truly comforted by God if they are complacent in their relationship with Him. I personally beat myself up when I know I am becoming distant, and then proceed to do nothing about it. And that is why I am always chasing rest. Because I am prideful, because I think I only need the baseline of what a relationship with God can offer me, that I can handle whatever is outside of me, despite the chaos inside.
True comfort is reached with being intentional with God. With refusing to be only a lukewarm Christian, with refusing to become complacent in your situation. Be intentional in how you speak with Him. In how you grow with Him. In how you learn about Him.
Fight complacency with intention. The intention to trust God, wholeheartedly.