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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Comfortable or Character?

Have you ever noticed how you hate to feel uncomfortable? I hate that feeling of unrest. There have been many times, when I have been in the middle of a problem, where I just have wanted to work it out quickly and easily. Perhaps God doesn’t want me to work out my problem comfortably or easily or quickly. What does working something out so I can feel comfortable have to do with God’s will for my life? Might I be missing a lesson by taking the reigns in my own hands?

In Luke 14:16-20, Jesus actually talked about how a man desires to feel comfortable. This is the parable of a man who gave a dinner party. Invitations were sent out, and excuses were given.

Listen, I’ve just purchased some land.”

I just got married.”

Oh, too bad! I’m just on my way to try out a new yoke!”

Each excuse revealed that the invitation caused an inconvenience. Inconvenience and feeling comfortable are not compatible. Jesus has issued an invitation to follow Him. That is inconvenient. Is it comfortable? Hardly. But if I decline His invitation I will miss the value of a wilderness experience.A wilderness experience has the potential to create “character”. A few words that come to mind are honesty, integrity, patience, kindness, and diligence. I don’t develop “character” in easy times. I must be willing to launch out into the deep; be willing to feel uncomfortable; be willing to experience vulnerability; and be willing to run the race set before me. How I, in my humanness, long to avoid the discipline of the race! But Jesus wishes me to be like Him.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:5-8).

Make every effort to add these virtues, Peter writes. Feeling comfortable or escaping a lesson to be learned is not making an effort to add anything to my life. It is time to allow these virtues to be added. For example, how is goodness added to faith? Testing of my faith either brings bitterness or produces profit. I will either reap the good or dwell on the bad. It is my choice. Will I learn from my experience? Will I accept the invitation to grow from it, or am I too busy like those with the excuses given in the parable? Am I trying out my own yoke instead of His? His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Comfortable, it’s not, but it becomes lighter as I yield to the lesson. To add knowledge to goodness, I must surrender again. As yielding continues, the lessons learned bring strength to face the unexpected. The character traits of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love shall become His bedrock in my life. For these to be real, I have to walk by faith through the valley to realize the bedrock of the mountain. Feeling comfortable will keep me in the valley instead of lifting me to new heights.

Now that is a lesson learned. I can walk through the valley with the strength of the mountain.

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