Self-preservation is one of man’s natural instincts. It is in our system to avoid as much pain in life as possible and go for whatever makes us feel good and comfortable.
But at the moment an individual accepts Christ as His personal Lord and Savior, that individual must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus for as long as he is alive. Most of the time, that impulse to avoid suffering stays within us, and that hinders us from truly living out our purpose in this life.
A Christian can read the Bible everyday, join every ministry within his church and give tithes and offerings every Sunday without realizing that he or she is primarily, if not entirely, focused on his or her own well-being.
In Bible-reading, a Christian can unconsciously memorize only the verses that makes him feel good. A book about Jeremiah 29:11 would probably sell a lot because it declares God’s promises that He will keep us from harm. But a book about 1 Peter 2:19 would probably be left out because it tells us to bear all the pain bought by an injustice.
The WRONG Image of God
This act of selective reading can cause many to develop a wrong image of God. Those who only open their eyes to passages and messages about God’s love, mercy, and grace will only know half of God. Yes, it makes them feel good knowing that the God they worship is capable of forgiving any type of sin (which makes them feel secure). But they fail to see the other half of God: the God of justice, the God who literally drowned Egypt and its sins.
This is why some people wonder how a God of love can send people to Hell. They also wonder why God would punish a person eternally for a finite number of sins. Thing is, if one is aware of God’s whole character, then that person will understand that the punishment of sin is eternal because it has offended an eternal Being.
I myself have experienced this type of Christian living within me, and around me. About 3 years ago, a Christian friend of mine from another church invited me to join their annual missions retreat. Because there were two missions retreat to choose from, he gave me some advice on what to choose.
He told me to sign up for the one he was going to because he claimed that the people there were more kind, had more food, and had electricity 24 hours a day. He never mentioned God’s glory. He never told me which retreat needed more volunteers that would reach people to Christ Jesus. The desire to help the lost may be there, but the desire to be comfortable was even greater. The question asked here was, “Which retreat would make me feel better?” instead of “Which retreat would glorify God more?”
A year after this ordeal, I realized that I, too, was living my Christian life in the same manner. Inside my church, I was often asked to volunteer for events. To some I agreed to help, while to others I turned down. I was hand-picking my ministries for the wrong purposes.
I would only join events and ministries where my close friends were a part of. I was willing to serve the Lord with a smile as long as I was comfortable with myself and my surroundings. But at times when my friends were absent, or when the air-conditioning broke down, or when the free snacks were not that tasty, then serving God wouldn’t be a delight for me anymore.
There is nothing wrong with spending some time in our comfort zone, but when we refuse to step out of it just because we don’t wanna sweat on our favorite T-shirt, then we must rethink our relationship with our Master.
“God is more interested in our character, rather than in our comfort.”-Rick Warren