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We can be sure satan will tempt us in the exact same way. He will tempt us to stay comfortable, and stagnate in our comfort zone. He will tempt us to stop ourselves from reaching our full potential.


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another post.

I’ve written before about the evils and dangers of comfort. Comfort is deadly because when we get comfortable, we stop striving. We like where we’re at and we want to stay there. So we relax and feel fine with not working to advance to new levels (which is uncomfortable, since that’s tough to do). These are some of the life dangers of comfort, but the problems don’t stop there.

Comfort is not only dangerous, but fatal to a Spiritual life. The more comfortable we are, the more things of the world we have (“creature comforts”). The more we have to do with this world, the further we take ourselves from God.

And if we’re comfortable in life we say we don’t need anything more from God, and we’re OK staying where we are in our relationship with Him. Worst of all, we may even feel like we don’t need God, because we have a comfortable life and don’t lack for anything. We may even fall into the prideful sin of thinking that we are the ones responsible for our own “success.” I put “success” in quotes for a reason—because a comfortable life like this isn’t success at all. It’s Spiritual stagnation that leads to death.

Comfort is poison to the soul.

And the main reason I say that is because comfort stops us from reaching our full potential. Comfort does this to us because, like I said, we become content with staying where we are and not advancing. We begin stagnating.

I feel strongly about this, and I have a lot to say about it. I only wish I could articulate it better though. I often feel like I’m not getting my point across about why comfort is bad. But here is another post I wrote about it: #Shorts Part 17—Painful comfort. Check that out if you’re so inclined.

Anyway, I worry about if I’m doing a good job of articulating why comfort is a bad thing. So I’m happy when I find other writers talking about it. And that’s what I present to you today. I have more material from Flowers in the Desert by Demetrius Dumm, a book I wrote about recently.

Let’s hear from the author Demetrius Dumm about why it’s bad, Spiritually and otherwise, to stay in our comfort zone.

Enter the Unknown

Well, I’ll actually tell you right now. It basically comes down to him saying God calls us out of our comfort zone, to make a Spiritual journey with Him. To follow Jesus, and live a different kind of life. To leave everything we knew, change our lives, sell everything we own and follow Jesus.

This is not an easy choice, since it means giving up what we know and stepping into a new life, one we’re not familiar with. It’s scary and painful to step out of our comfort zone, even if Jesus is with us. (But we need to get out of our comfort zone because there’s no growth in that zone. Think of it as the stagnation zone.) Because it means leaving (perceived) safety and entering the unknown.

Demetrius Dumm points out how this exact scenario plays out a few times in the Bible, in both Testaments. The most major one from the Old Testament is the Exodus. Israel had some level of “safety” and “comfort” in Egypt, although they were in slavery. When God called them out of Egypt so they could have freedom and more, He was calling them away from what they knew and into the unknown.

They celebrated the beginning of this journey with God into the unknown by the Passover ritual. Turns out this ritual originated with pre-Israel nomad tribes in the Middle East. Let’s read:

Among the semi-nomadic tribes of the ancient Near East, it was necessary to spend the summer months, when there was little or no rainfall, in a constant search for new pasture for the flocks of sheep and goats. This meant that every spring they would have to leave the relative safety of their winter camps with their protective enclosures to begin the dangerous summer journeying when the flocks would be exposed to wild animals and other hazards. To involve the protection of their gods, they would offer sacrifice and then smear the blood of the sacrifice on their tents to ward off the evil spirits who might harm their flocks. They ate the sacrifice in the nomad way, roasted and with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

Israel saw that this springtime sacrifice of their ancestors was most appropriate for their own situation. For they too were leaving a place that represented a certain kind of safety but where there was also inevitable death for them as a people. And they were moving into an unknown, uncharted world with all the terrors that that prospect implied.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 58

The Israelites didn’t know what awaited them outside of Egypt, which they did know. They were dying in Egypt, but at least they knew it and were used to it; it was familiar. That familiarity creates a sense of security.

Likewise, we also don’t know what awaits us when we answer God’s call. It’s tempting to resist the call, and stick with what we know. To stay in “Egypt,” a place where we’re stagnating and suffering, but we have some comfort there because it’s familiar.

This Spiritual “Egypt” could be an abusive relationship, a dead-end job, an addiction, and more. We’re scared to step out into the unknown with God and change, because … it’s unknown!! But God is calling us into that unknown for our own good. He wants us out of the comfort zone where we are dying. God wants better for us. If we trust Him, we can survive, thrive, and grow outside our comfort zone.

The bottom line is, comfort is a temptation. It’s a temptation to stay where we are, a place we know, even if we know there could be better out there.

Demetrius Dumm explains how the same temptation Israel faced in the desert is a temptation all believers must face. The temptation to turn back and give up. To turn away from the unknown, and go back to what’s psychologically comfortable, even if it means death for us.

It is not difficult to see that this testing of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai was a prototype of the testing of all believers. Believers of all ages are asked to endure the aching void of incompleteness as they care for others and look ahead to the distant homeland. […] Believers are also asked to resist the strong temptation to turn away from the unknown and threatening future to take refuge in the past with its little victories and its familiar features. It is relatively easy to look ahead when one is young and full of zest for life. But when the subtle but unmistakable hints of decline appear, there is grave danger that one will gradually turn more and more toward the past. There will be more consolation and comfort in the scrapbook than in the threatening future! However, to muse about the “good old days” is to quit the journey and to die.

Finally, and worst of all, believers are tempted to distrust God’s promise of true freedom and happiness at the end of the journey as they listen to the woeful predictions of the prophets of doom […]

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 65

The prophets of doom are another obstacle. There will always be people telling us to turn back, telling us to play it safe, to be comfortable. We need to listen to God and ourselves, not these “prophets of doom.” They come in many different forms in our lives. But their pessimistic message is always the same: Give up, turn back, stay comfortable.

No Turning back

But all this Scripture is Old Testament. Does Jesus have anything to say about this topic??

Of course. First off, His whole life was an example of taking a risk for God.

He also taught us that to be His Disciple we have to deny ourselves and take up our cross. We have to give up our lives that we know to save them. We have to give up what we know to receive by Faith what Jesus offers. This is no small task, and it takes courage on our part. The courage to head into the unknown.

Jesus Himself had to face this very same temptation, when He was in the wilderness. Satan’s final temptation was that of worldly power; ruling all the kingdoms and so on. Satan was tempting Jesus with the worldly comforts of success and wealth. More than that, he was tempting Jesus to give up God’s uncomfortable plan and to just be comfortable for Himself. It was a temptation to stay comfortable and not reach Jesus’ full potential, which can only be reached by following God’s Plan.

We can be sure satan will tempt us in the exact same way. He will tempt us to stay comfortable, and stagnate in our comfort zone. He will tempt us to stop ourselves from reaching our full potential.

Demetrius Dumm explains:

It is clear that Jesus is here re-living the experience of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. This temptation scene is a summary of all the temptations ever experienced by Jesus. As in the case of Israel, he was urged to turn back from the pain and sacrifice of God’s way, to reject the mystery for a life that would make sense and be filled with success as humans define it—comfort, recognition, immediate satisfaction.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 73

A big part of the pain of following God’s plan is the anxiety of the unknown, the mystery. To stick to a life that “makes sense” by human standards, with comfort and security, is tempting. But God calls us to make that leap of Faith to risk everything and gain so much more. Because comfort kills us, slowly.

Many of the situations we stay in because they’re familiar to us are actually killing us in a very real way. Abusive relationships, addictions, and so on are all fatal to us and our Spirits. But we stay in them sometimes because we’re afraid of stepping out of that false security to embrace change, which is unknown. In the same way Israel was dying in slavery in Egypt, we also die staying in our comfort zone.

But also note that a comfortable life where we have everything is also dangerous. This is Spiritual death, because we feel no need to advance and grow beyond our comfort zone. This kills our Spiritual growth because we feel we have everything and we’re good where we’re at now. A comfortable life of having it all is Spiritually fatal.

It’s for our own good to leave the comfort zone. If we do, we’ll thrive and grow. If we stay in a Spiritual “Egypt,” we die.

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Until next time, be strong and do good!!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

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