We like comfy.
In fact, I’m in my PJ’s, hair thrown in a ponytail, my favorite diet soda by my side, considering grabbing a blanket because I am slightly cold.
I have created a bubble of comfort for my writing time, which you should find ironic because I sat down to write about living outside of our comfort-zone.
It’s a well-known fact that we humans gravitate towards comfort. And that’s okay, except when we let that gravitational pull guide us through our life, shaping more than just our wardrobe and refrigerator contents.
Let’s consider some examples:
- Have you ever driven an extra 5 miles to shop at a grocery store that’s less crowded or has a ‘higher class’ clientele?
- Or pulled your car into the garage so that you don’t have to speak with your needy neighbor?
- Or refused to make eye contact with the homeless person on the street?
- Or had the meal you are providing to a newly widowed woman delivered so you don’t have to search for the words to say?
- How many of us are more concerned with our potential home’s proximity to the pool than its proximity to the lost?
Truth be told, we often cut ourselves off from those desperately in need of Christ, for our own comfort’s sake.
We want a house in the nice neighborhood with nice schools so we have the nicest moms who can reciprocate our nice play dates. And since the comfort-seeking tendency is so strong, we never really think about it twice.
But when I look at the life of Jesus I see something radically different.
Jesus (also) suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. — Hebrews 13:12
Jesus suffered and spilled His own blood for us. But there’s more, as followers of Christ there’s a response required of us:
Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. — Hebrews 13:13
Yes I lured you in with PJ’s and am now springing suffering on you but for good reason, I promise. Ladies, there’s something better than the comfort we spend our lives seeking — it’s being with Jesus.
He moved into a messy community when He came to earth.
In Luke 4:18, Jesus says he came to proclaim good news to the poor and to set at liberty those who are oppressed. He was found eating with sinners and letting the wrong sort of woman wash his feet with her hair. Those who were grief-stricken were welcomed and comforted by our Lord. The chronically menstruating and demon-possessed were not avoided by the Son of God.
Jesus spent a significant portion of his time ministering to the down-and-out, and I can’t help but think “go to him outside the camp” supports the idea that he still has a special presence among them. So why wouldn’t we pick to live among or entwine our lives with the kind of brokenness that is near and dear to our Jesus?
Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Yes it will be uncomfortable to befriend the broken. It will be messy to move to an impoverished area. It is sacrificial. You might have to give more than you are comfortable giving to engage a neighbor in need of Christ. Yet if we stop the mindless drift toward our own comfort and join Him, we have the opportunity to be in the presence of our Satisfaction and Comfort. He’s there with the broken-hearted. In His presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
Who are the broken-hearted in your city? Who are the oppressed? Who in your circle of influence is captive to sin?
Join Jesus, outside the gate of our comfort, by walking alongside them.
Amy is the wife of Barry Rager and the mother of four small children. Amy served alongside Barry while he pastored two established churches before they relocated from rural Kentucky to inner-city Indianapolis to plant New Circle Church. Amy enjoys reaching out to her neighbors, discipling women, serving her new church family and learning the in’s and out’s of her city.
Published April 27, 2015