Few would admit it, but what most people want is a comfortable relationship with Jesus. We want answered prayers, help through troubled times, and comfort in crisis. Oh, and spending eternity in Heaven while escaping Hell, we want that too. Those are the comfortable benefits making Jesus so desirable to us, after all. Here’s where it gets a little uncomfortable. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time talking up those benefits. He spent most of His time warning of trials and persecution, and giving stern warnings to those seeking to live a comfortable “religious” life.
His harshest words were reserved for people just like us… those who were trying please God through comfortable and often self-serving platitudes. Comfortable Christianity is synonymous with Pharisaical living.
If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you’re going to have to get very comfortable with being very uncomfortable. Jesus promised to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5) and we would spend eternity with Him after we die (John 14:3; John 3:16). But He also promised we’d have trouble in this life (John 16:33). He warned we could end up homeless (Matthew 8:20) and hated by our families (Mark 13:10-13). The history of the early Church proves we might face violent confrontations because of our faith in Him (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). There’s no such thing as a comfortable relationship with Jesus. It’s why so many who claim to follow Him are in for a rude awakening when they die (Matthew 7:22-23).
When I read the New Testament, I admit I get irritated at the behavior of the Pharisees. I’m not so naïve as to be unable to recognize my life at times resembles theirs. I’m also not fool enough to not do something about it. I don’t know about you, but seeing as how we only get one life to get this right, I don’t want to simply play at Christianity. If I believe in Christ – and I do – then I’m going to live my life the way He told me I should.
Following Jesus means I must surrender those things I might hold dear. My dreams may have to be sacrificed. There’s a chance my family could be taken from me. I could end up destitute and homeless. Through it all, I know Jesus will be with me (Matthew 28:20), and that is enough. It has to be enough if we are to call ourselves His disciples. He doesn’t call us to a comfortable relationship. He calls us to forsake everything, take up our cross, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
While many seek a comfortable relationship with Jesus, I’ll take one that’s simply surrendered. I’ll take His will over mine any day. The trick is remembering this when we are faced with discomfort. Will we choose the way we know is right and get a little uncomfortable? Or will we choose the wide and easy path of comfort? Remember, selfish comfort for ourselves directly correlates to a rejection of Jesus and His plan for our lives. To be His disciple means trusting Him even when life gets uncomfortable and even hard. He’s got you. He’s got me. All we have to do is trust Him. Jesus isn’t seeking a comfortable relationship with you. He’s searching for a heart totally surrendered and devoted to Him.