Why Being Comfortable Is Not Okay
Comfort. We are a lot about comfort these days. Whether in what we wear, how we shop, how we eat, how we plan our days... a lot of things revolve around whether or not they affect our comfort level. And, to a certain degree, comfort is good. It's good to be able to wear comfy clothes at the end of a long day or week. It's helpful to be able to pick up your groceries you ordered online. Comfort food is delicious (and easy!) And, there's certainly a time and place for all those things.
But, what about in our spiritual lives? Should we ever feel comfortable spiritually? After studying through I Samuel and having begun II Samuel, I would posit that "No, comfort in your Christian life should not be place where you dwell." Why?
Let's just take a brief look at David. This is a familiar story. And it starts with this phrase, "It happened, late one afternoon..." What happened? David's sin with Bathsheba. Yep. This is that story. I will just do a Cliff notes version here:
David stayed home while all the other men were out fighting against all the other kings. (Apparently there was a "time of year" when all the kings fought against each other..) But, David didn't go. He stayed at Jerusalem. (see II Samuel 11:1)
Late one afternoon, David went up to his roof. From there he saw a beautiful woman bathing. (There is no indication she was being provocative in this instance. She had just completed her menstrual cycle, and was bathing to cleanse and purify herself. See II Samuel 11:4)
He called her to come to the palace. She came, of course- because when your king bids you come, you go. There is no indication either that what happened next was consensual on her part. And, further explanations indicate the sin is David's, not Bathsheba's.
She conceives after David "lays with her". David then has to do some backtracking. So, he sends for her husband, Uriah, who has been faithfully doing his soldierly duties. David encourages him to go home. Uriah refuses. He will not go home while the other soldiers are sleeping in the open fields. (See II Samuel 11:9-11)
David then tries to get Uriah drunk so he will go home. He gets drunk, but still doesn't go home. So, David sends Uriah back to battle with a sealed letter for Joab, the commander. In this letter, he instructs Joab to put Uriah into the heat of the battle so he will die. And, of course, Joab obeys his king. Uriah dies.
Then, David takes Bathsheba and makes her his wife and she bears him a son. And, we read, "But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD." (See II Samuel 11:27)
I just really do not like this story. It makes my stomach churn and it makes me sad. Here, David, the man after God's own heart, the man who has been faithful to give God the glory in all his conquests, the man who refused to kill enraged Saul because Saul was the king's anointed, the man who defeated Goliath when everyone else was afraid.... this man did this. This man raped a woman. Then had her husband killed so his deed didn't get found out. Then he took that woman and made her his official wife. And in the midst of that, he went to all kinds of deceptive trouble to get Uriah to shirk his duties. Why? What happened?!?
Do you ever think that? Do you ever wonder "what happened to so-and-so? Why did they make that choice? How did they get to the point that they had to do _________?
David became comfortable.
He was at home. When he should have been at war! When he should have been leading his country! And, maybe he just thought it would be a good idea for Joab to exercise leadership. Maybe he was exhausted. Maybe he needed a break. I don't know. But, somewhere along the line he became comfortable.
Comfortable in his position as king.
Comfortable enough to let someone else do the work.
Comfortable in his power as king to get what he wanted. (No one questioned the authority of a king!)
Comfortable enough to disregard sin as being something he deserved.
Comfortable enough to ignore the dignity, feelings, and the very lives of others.
And, in this, he screwed up royally...
How about you? Are you comfortable in your Christian life? Comfortable to be home, doing your own thing, doing this or that, letting someone else take the leadership- whether at home, in your job, at church, in your relationships. Maybe you've been feeling burned out. Or tired. Or you think someone else deserves a chance at leadership.
Whatever it is, don't stay stuck at your comfort level. Why?
Comfort breeds complacency. Complacency toward the word of God, toward rules, restrictions, toward the rigors of life and schedule and discipline.
Complacency breeds contempt. When you become complacent, then contempt toward those rules, regulations, and rigorous disciplines creeps in and affects your mind. Contempt tells you that rule isn't important or that it's okay to slack off- you deserve it.
Contempt breeds corruption. Corruption of mind, body, and spirit. What starts in your mind as complacency and contempt will lead to your actions following that mindset. And, then as you follow through with that mindset, your spirit becomes desensitized to the Word and Spirit of God so that you make decisions and do actions based on you. And, you ignore others and God and "what's right" and disciplines and self-control, because you have trained your mind to believe you deserve this.
I mean, how did David not feel badly until Nathan the prophet came and told him so?!?! Comfort, complacency, contempt, corruption. He became comfortable with his choice. Led to complacency toward his relationship with God. This complacent attitude produced contempt for those who stood in the way of what he wanted. This contempt produced corruption of mind, body, and spirit so that he could excuse what he had done.
And, it happened so quickly.
And, as we see with David, this corruption can only be cured by repentance and restoration with God. This does not negate the consequences (broken relationships, ruined testimony, loss of trust and respect, and so on), but this is the only way to restore your standing before God.
David repented. He mourned. He grieved. But, his life was never the same. His family was riddled with loss, corruption, sin. God, of course, never broke his promises and certainly forgave David, but just think how the story of David and his family could have been different had David not become comfortable. I mean, what if he had just turned away... what if he had just not stayed home.... what if he had just admitted it to start with.... what if.....???? So many "what ifs" in this story... and there's "what ifs" in our own lives every day. "What if" I was just content with where God has me? "What if" I confessed this sin right away? "What if" I just admitted I needed help? "What if" I had just stayed faithful? "What if" I just didn't give up, give in...?
So what is the lesson for us here?
For me, it bears an important reminder: STAND GUARD!
Comfort is so easy. So much what my sinful flesh wants. So much of what my mind tells me I deserve. I see so much of myself in this story. I became comfortable. I became complacent toward the word, toward my sin, toward the instructions and advice of others. I treated them with contempt, thinking and feeling that they didn't understand me or that I deserved to be and act this way. And, this led to corruption of my body, mind, and spirit- which has had to be repented of, re-trained, restored, renewed. And, it's a long and painful process. (You can check out my story here: https://www.amazon.com/Sometimes-Takes-Mountain-Claiming-Addiction/dp/1098063619/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=sometimes+it+takes+a+mountain+by+amanda+reed&qid=1622110154&sr=8-1)
At the end of the day, I know that God, his name, and his word are to be exalted above all things. Even in my sin. Knowing what has happened in my comfort fuels the fire of my soul. Oh, how I do not want to offend the name of my God with my foolishness! I must STAND GUARD! I must SET A WATCH. I must not be like the disciples who fell asleep while Jesus prayed. I must not be like Samson who got comfortable in his strength. I must not be like David who became comfortable in his position. I must not be like my former self.
Let us learn from these examples in Scripture and even in our own lives.
Stand guard, dear ones, and let not comfort be your companion!
Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Song for Meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVboJzgToM