Everyone wants to be comfortable. In America, people lay down to sleep amidst nearly a dozen pillows on mattresses tailored to their preferred firmness. Some can even be altered with the touch of a button. Thermostats control the temperature in a home to the exact degree. We eagerly await the chance to wear our “comfy” clothes.
Before we blindly give ourselves up to a life pursuit such as comfort, we must examine the root of it. Why do we desire the feeling of comfort? Is it good to make yourself comfortable?
When I look at the lives of the Prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament and early church, they were anything but comfortable. I think about Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet,” sitting in a deep hole for calling Israel to repentance and to return to the LORD (Jeremiah 38). I think about Paul as he commands us to “share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3) and to “imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1). No soldier is comfortable. That is a civilian’s pursuit. A soldier lives a life of warfare, constantly engaging with opposition and aiming to follow their commander and the plan at hand.
If then we are called to be soldiers because we are called to imitate Paul as he imitates Christ, then comfort seems out of bounds and entirely incompatible with Christianity. Comfort breeds complacency and a feeling of self-sufficiency. The illusion of self-sufficiency proceeds from pride and an arrogance in one’s own strength. When we understand that we can do nothing apart from him (John 15:5) and he grants us our every breath (Job 12:10, Isaiah 42:5), we begin to recognize our sin in believing we can run the show on our own.
What then? Is this a life of pain and utter misery?
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50). Affliction will come. Will our pillows and thermostats and country clubs hold fast our hearts and hope? In the day of trouble, his promises will widen our eyes and revive us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). While our lot may be persecution, temptations, emotional distress, sickness, or derision, the LORD himself is our comfort, equipping us to comfort others.
If we are following him and find ourselves feeling secure and taking comfort in something other than our Father or his strong promises, let us demolish our house resting on sand and build upon a firm foundation, the solid rock that is Jesus Christ.