A thought about comfort…
Posted on September 27, 2012
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 states: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” A common theme you overhear in Christian chatter is God’s not interested in our comfort in this life or that we need to “get out of our comfort zone.”
It’s kind of a funny saying, and when you start peeling back layers of scripture and seeing the nature of God revealed again and again, you realize these thoughts aren’t that biblical! God is actually extremely interested in our comfort and I believe He is wanting to redefine what we think our “comfort” zone is! Here’s the skinny. God is not that interested in us finding comfort in possessions or the opinions of others. However, He is very interested in us finding comfort in Himself.
Here’s where things get a little tricky. By the language people use, it often sounds like they are really struggling to not find comfort in possessions or in the opinions of peers. However, what is really happening is a case of mistaken identity. What people have rarely been taught is that the truth is they are ALREADY in union with the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (aka – The Comforter – See Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 2:9-12, Colossians 3:1-4). As we hear this truth our experience undergoes a major overhaul. We begin to realize that it’s only in Christ that we are comfortable. Now it makes me uncomfortable to isolate, dwell in fear, be rude to others, etc. I realize that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (See Galatians 2:20)!
My new comfort zone is purity, holiness, joy, boldness, courage, vision, extreme generosity, and love. From this place of extreme comfort in Jesus now James 1 begins to make sense. Verses 2-3 state: “Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” When you realize God is already the source of your comfort and you trust Him to be your peace, your patience, your love, your kindness, your gentleness, your joy, your faithfulness, and your self-control you can pass the test of any trial.
When we believe God doesn’t want us to be comfortable we can feel guilty if something good happens in our lives. We can think it is more spiritual to have a “hard-time” because it somehow shows how committed we are. A better way to think about it, is to realize that God is the God of all comfort in His nature and character. When we awaken to that truth a trial is no longer scary, and we can actually get excited because we know, ‘God works all things together for our good” (Romans 8:28). Let’s reorient our thinking to be thankful for God’s comfort and realize that comfort never ever leaves us. When we think He has, it’s time to rest again in His goodness and faithfulness. Even trials are a time to celebrate good news!