As a military chaplain I have to take a yearly physical training test, which includes situps, pushups, and running. Because I broke my foot a few months ago, I have not been able to exercise, and now I find myself needing to get going and start training again for the test in November. But I am finding it all too easy to put this off.
When you think about the many spiritual temptations you face in life, you probably don’t think about this one: the temptation to avoid discomfort. But this is a powerful enticement that can undermine God’s purpose for your life. It can come in subtle ways—here are just a few:
- Sleeping a few extra minutes instead of spending time in God’s word to start your day (and so forfeiting spiritual refreshment and strength).
- Avoiding involvement in a ministry because it’s easier to stay on the sidelines (and so forfeiting God’s growth and blessing in your life that will only come through these ways).
- Being fearful to share the gospel of Jesus with someone (and so forfeiting the joy of seeing God work through you to reach the lost).
The irony is that we think comfort will make us happy. It doesn’t. It leads to self-absorption, boredom, and discontentment. There is a Hebrew term that correlates to this: atsel. That word is used throughout Proverbs—for one who values the comfort of sleeping instead of taking advantage of opportunities (6:9), for one who comes up with ridiculous excuses for not taking action (22:13), for one whose desires are not fulfilled because he does not step out in faith: “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (13:4). That is how atsel is translated: sluggard. Do you recognize the danger of being spiritual sluggish? This verse says that it can mean the difference between spiritual barrenness and fruitfulness.
Have you succumbed to this temptation of comfort in your life? What has become more important to you—living a life of faith or living a life of comfort? God has not given you a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Ask the Lord to renew in you a heart of faith, to live a life of courage, fruitfulness, and joy!