Continued from here.
Considering God commands us to make significant changes to our self-centered lives and transform into people who prioritize God and others, why are we so reluctant to put forth effort to obey Him? I see two primary reasons, but I’m sure there are others.
The first reason is that we value comfort. Our sinful nature makes it comfortable to be self-absorbed. Obeying God requires us to move outside our comfort zone. In other words, obeying God means choosing discomfort repeatedly, and who wants to experience discomfort?
Being Jesus’ disciple is like training for a marathon. We don’t get to sit around watching television and eating chips. We must train as we let go of the comfort of eating chips and experience the discomfort of eating kale. We must let go of the comfort of lounging around and replace that with pushing our bodies as hard as we can. We must give up the short-term pleasure of doing what feels good in the moment and experience a season of discomfort to experience the long-term joy of the results of our training. To do this, we must value where we are going over where we are now.
Our culture does not encourage delayed gratification. We want everything NOW! We are an impatient culture that expects everything instantly. And yet, how much do we value all we receive instantly? Microwave meals don’t taste as good as meals that are slow-cooked. Instant messaging has enabled us to respond immediately in anger whereas snail mail gives you time to cool off before the mailman arrives to deliver your letter.
Things of true value – of lasting value – are worth the effort and wait, such as the nine months of morning sickness and other physical challenges as a woman awaits the birth of her baby. What we work toward and wait for is of much greater value to us than something that we invested no effort to receive.
It’s time to stop lounging around on the coach waiting for God to drop blessings on us. Spiritual growth requires effort. It requires us to step out of our comfort zones and train to be like Jesus. It requires us to be willing to undergo a season of hard work and effort with little to show for it, only the hope that the payoff will be worth it. I speak from experience – IT IS!
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sitting in a recliner holding a remote control. Courtesy Bitmoji.]