Summary: “COMFORT-able” Christian faith…. A faith that is able to comfort ‘cuz it’s grounded in reality of the ups and downs of life. (Don’t ya hate it when someone is trying to comfort you and they’re not in touch with reality….or there not even connecting with
Opener: There’s always talk of needing to get out of our Comfort zones….And often it is thought of as noble or daring but in the end, don’t we all just long for comfort??? At the end of the day are we a people who long to have a miserable night or are we thinking “once I get home, I’m gonna put my feet up, watch the tube and just veg out…” I don’t know how the COMFORT zone thing plays itself out in your life but here’s a snapshot of life in my world….As a parent of a 3 yr. Old and a 1 yr. Old, when I think of comfort zone, I think of being able to actually….someday…..in the future….being able to sleep in again and not be woken up by the LOVELY pitter-patter of footsteps calling me out of bed at 5:45 am. Wondering if I would like to play with the hockey men or to pretend I am a boulder, a crab, a turtle that is supposed to chase him around as he acts like CRASH BANDICOOT from Sony Playstation folklore. Parenting, I am learning, often calls you out of your comfort zone and asks you to do what you may not otherwise do….
But what if I told you that I want you to consider how you can stay in your comfort zone? Nice huh? Uhhhhhhhhh….nice until you discover what the comfort zone of the Christian life looks like….It ain’t just chillin’ out on a beach with a drink on your side (ie: Corona beer commercials; SOUTHERN comfort liqueur)…..it’s a comfort zone that’s loaded with other stuff…but it’s a comfort zone that is more in touch with reality…
· it’s in touch with human need
· it’s in touch with the things that are on God’s heart
COMFORT: (translated as CONSOLATION in some texts)….
Ø The comfort which God bestows upon his children
Ø GRK: The sense of standing beside a person to encourage him/her while going under severe testing in certain circumstances/events
Ø A deeper, different comfort….not cushy or easy!
And it’s a comfort zone where we will be able to be the people of God who live out a “COMFORT-able” Christian faith…. A faith that is able to comfort ‘cuz it’s grounded in reality of the ups and downs of life. (Don’t ya hate it when someone is trying to comfort you and they’re not in touch with reality….or there not even connecting with you cuz they’re just waiting to give you their latest news???)
SO…..What is Christianity that is able to comfort???? Let me suggest that it involves 3 aspects….THE FIRST ONE IS THIS….
1) COMFORT-able Christianity…. knows pain and suffering (it knows WHAT?????….I don’t know if I like this kind of comfort???!!!!????)
READ verses 3-7
(Talk of 2 Cor. Background… Paul’s defense of character and ministry and in this section he’s outlining his dependance on God and the fact that Life is not so CUSHY…it’s not easy street but he’s willing to live down there for the sake of Christ)
Are you having a bad week???? Welcome to comfort-able christianity. I don’t know what got you through the door into kingdom living, but I doubt that you came to Christ because you thought it was going to be the pyramid marketing approach to successful religious living. What I mean by that is we are often drawn to the feet of Jesus because that’s where life circumstances have taken us….down on our bellies or our faces….with no place to look but UP….and were humbled….and that’s why we end up at the FEET of Christ….. perhaps we’ve come through a tough time, or a challenging situation that turns our world upside-down or maybe we’ve lost it all and finally have a need that can’t be filled by our selves or in our own strength. If you have come to Christ because you think you were going to be an added bonus to the people of God (like, what is God going to do without me???) then perhaps you need to rethink your Christian journey. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not downplaying the Christian life….but I’m saying the Christian life is like marriage in some ways….do you REALLY know what you’re getting into???? When I talk to people about being married or single, I try to give them the impression that it is better to be single than to marry the wrong person……don’t get married just cuz you feel like you have to or need to….cuz marriage IS A BIG DEAL…..and it can be a gloriously FUN and FULFILLING deal but reality is that it has it’s stresses….it has its disappointments…..it has its conflicts….and if you’re not aware about that before you go in then you’ve only been sold half the story.
It’s the same with our Christian faith. Yes, life with Jesus is the only way to true life….true fulfillment….true peace, joy and love…..but IT’s not easy street. The Christian life is filled with pain and suffering. It’s filled with bad stuff….bad news…heartbreak….broken relationships….sickness…..frustration….dissension…grief. Jesus Christ….who is the one we follow and pray and give our lives to…..he did not have a cakewalk calling. He had a tough life….especially at the end…..He suffered and died on a cruel cross….betrayed by his friends….abandoned…..