“We get so comfortable with our level of spiritual passion, that we’re likely to stay there for years.” That quote is from The Wind and the Rudder by Dan Smith. I just read the final chapter of that book this morning and it inspired me to write this blog.
As human beings we are attracted to comfort, to familiarity. That’s why we keep wearing our favorite pair of shoes long after they are worn out. It’s why we sit in the same seat at church each week. It’s why we have a favorite chair in our family room. It’s why we drink the same brand of coffee every morning.
Why do we do those things? Because they are comfortable. Because they are familiar.
As human beings we are attracted to comfort, to things that are familiar. And most of the time, there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s one area where comfort and familiarity are the enemy: our spiritual journey.
Dan Smith writes, “It’s so easy to get used to a certain way of living — so much sleep, so much work, so much leisure time, so much TV time…so much (or so little) prayer time, so much church, so much time helping others, so much time in God’s Word. Each one of us inevitably settles in to a “normal” way of living, and we get comfortable with that.”
We get comfortable with our level of spiritual passion, so comfortable that we’re likely to stay there for years. But I firmly believe the goal of our spiritual journey is not to live a comfortable life.
Here are some big ways and some small ways to stretch our comfort zone so that your level of spiritual passion will increase…
Engage – Move beyond Bible reading and prayer and engage in some of the other classic spiritual disciplines like solitude, silence, simplicity, and fasting. After all, Jesus said, “WHEN you fast…” (Matthew 6:16). We often act like He said, “IF you fast…” Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster is a phenomenal resource to learn about these disciplines that Christians have been doing for the past 2,000 years to experience God.
Sit – We are creatures of habit. I bet you have your favorite seat at church, or at least a favorite section you always sit in. Change things up. Sit somewhere else this Sunday. I bet you’ll experience church in a whole new way.
Pray – Press into the power of prayer like never before. If you see a person in need of physical healing, take a risk. Ask him or her, “Can I pray for you right now?”
Give – Take a hard look at how much money you give to your local church and other organizations and charities that advance the Kingdom of God on earth. Increase what you give…today. Get out your checkbook and write a check or two. Stretch yourself. Make “radical generosity” the new normal for you.
Vary – When it comes to worship time at church, vary your posture. Try kneeling during a song (even if your church doesn’t have kneelers). Clap. Raise your hands. Extend your arms.
Read – Commit to read the Bible from cover to cover in one year. There are plenty of great reading plans available — we have one available at our Welcome Center for free. Get a plan and work the plan!
Attend – Make it a non-negotiable to go to church every single Sunday. Especially during the summer months when its so easy to treat church as optional (If you go “up north” find a church up there to attend). Going to church is one of the best ways to keep your spiritual temperature hot all week long.
Serve – As Christians, believing is just the beginning. Our beliefs ought to compel us to serve the poor and those in need. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6). We have that verse on a banner on stage at our church. But it’s much more than just words on a banner for us. May it be more than a banner for you as well. May it be a way of life.
When it comes to our spiritual journey, comfort is the enemy. So let’s get uncomfortable.
***May 12th is Mother’s Day! While flowers and candy are great gifts to give to your mom, the best gift you can give to your mom that day is your time. Start off Mother’s Day right by coming to church as a family! Invite your mom or your children to come to The Eastside Vineyard, whether or not they normally come to our church. It will be a great day of worship, communion, 1-on-1 prayer, and a sermon based on Matthew 22:34-40 focusing on love. May 12. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***