This past weekend, while traveling home with my family, I narrowly avoided tragedy. I was changing lanes on a busy interstate. Nothing new there. I frequent busy interstates. But this time was different. As I eased over, I failed to see the car in my blind spot. Then came a loud horn followed by screeching brakes. Looking through the rearview mirror, I saw the inches that separated a safe return to the comfort of home from being a statistic. Talk about sobering. And this terrifying moment reminded me of an important reality…failure to check a blind spot can be catastrophic. That brings me to the idea of comfortable Christianity.
Blind spots aren’t relegated to cars. Relationships. Jobs. Organizations. Blind spots are everywhere. Think about slavery. An enormous blind spot in American history. How could so many great leaders support such a despicable act? But it happened. And the fallout from the era of slavery is still felt today.
The church is not immune to blind spots either. And the greatest hole, the greatest blind spot, in American Christianity today is the widespread pursuit of comfort. That’s called comfortable Christianity.
And if American Christians do not identify the blind spot, the results could be catastrophic. Comfort pulls us away from God. It clouds the truth of the gospel. It creates tension between the life God calls us to and the life we desire for ourselves. And ultimately, comfort prevents us from seeing the fullness of God in this life…and maybe the next.
Much of what follows is a personal confession from someone who’s slid into comfortable Christianity. I fight a battle every day with comfort. So, I ask you to pray for me before you read any further…And as you move forward, I ask you to consider how my personal confession parallels your journey. Maybe there is an area you haven’t given to God. Maybe comfort is driving the train of your life.
How would you know? Here are 7 signs of a Christian that loves comfort more than Jesus.
Comfortable Christianity: 7 Signs Comfort Has Become Our Priority
1.) YOU ARE A REFEREE NOT A PLAYER.
When comfort trumps Jesus, cynicism, and judgmentalism are soon to follow. Comfortable Christianity moves a player from the field to a referee on the sidelines. Think about it. Players are too busy to investigate holding or lining up illegally. But referees? This is their only purpose. Referees watch every player on every play. And when someone commits a penalty, a flag is thrown.
“Foul! She did something in children’s ministry I don’t agree with.”
“Foul! I didn’t like what the preacher said today.”
Active Christians don’t have time for this nonsense. They are serving and building the kingdom. The church should ignore referees. They don’t understand the game…they aren’t on the team.
2.) YOUR DESIRE AND PASSION FOR GOD ARE STAGNANT.
If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re probably stuck at an acceptable level. Cal Newport
Christians should live with a healthy discomfort. Always. You should welcome preachers who push you and challenge you to explore deeper levels of God’s nature and character. You should constantly push to know and understand more of God. Every part of your life should awaken you to God’s unfailing love, infinite grace, and immeasurable power.
The process of God molding you into his image is a lifelong pursuit. You don’t “arrive.” God is infinite. And stretching towards an infinite God requires growing pains. Comfortable Christianity doesn’t make room for pain.
But if the goal is to know God more intimately, you must live with a healthy discomfort.
3.) YOU TALK LIKE AN ATHEIST.
When God is over-shadowed by comfort, he rarely comes out of your mouth during conversation. How often does God cross your mind in a 24-hour period? At work, do you look for opportunities to inject God’s name into conversations? At school, does God shape your encounters with friends and teachers?
Whatever you are passionate about you will talk about. Are you passionate about God?
Whatever you are passionate about you will talk about. Write that down. When I met my wife, I called all my friends. I even called people I didn’t know. I wanted the world to know this beautiful, amazing woman actually liked me.
What about God? Are you passionate about him? Would any of your co-workers or classmates know you are a Christian? When comfort drives the train, God takes a back seat. That’s comfortable Christianity.
4.) YOU KEEP GOD ON A LEASH.
“You stay right there, God. And don’t do anything crazy.” This is the implicit mantra of someone who’s settled into comfortable Christianity. God is confined to a box. Answers rarely fall in the gray area. God rarely operates beyond human understanding. Miracles. Healing. Demons. None of these filter through the box well.
So, they are out.
Those settled into comfortable Christianity often use phrases like “God doesn’t work that way” and “God can’t do that” because God isn’t all-powerful…he is “most of the time” powerful.