What most of us want out of life is comfort and security. We are not asking for millions of dollars, mansions, and luxurious vacations, but a life that is free from dangers and hassles. The hope for security and comfort is the reason many of us ask for God’s blessings.
I have recognized this reality in my life as I envision the life I want for my children. I don’t want them to face danger, poverty, persecution, or any of the other evils that exist in this world. My hope for them is to follow Jesus in the same comfort and security that I have. But is that what is best for them? Is that what is best for me?
It is in this area of comfort and security that many Western Christians clash with God’s will. Some how the lie of the enemy has infiltrated our teaching, and we have come to believe that God’s blessings equal comfort and security. The result is that we have worshiped God because of the blessings, and not because of who He is. Like the Israelites in the wilderness we only worship and follow God when He blesses us.
True faith follows God into unknown, even at that cost of our comfort and security:
- God called to Abram. The call meant Abram needed to leave his homeland and everything he knew to follow God to a land that He would give Abram. Abram left, and through the uncertainty he learned to trust God. For this to happen Abram (Abraham) had to leave the comfort of the life he knew and follow God into the great unknown.
- Nicodemus came to Jesus to ask whether Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to abandon the religion he knew, the religion that gave him comfort and security, and put his trust in Jesus. Nicodemus didn’t understand what Jesus meant, but he decided to follow Jesus, and his life changed. No longer did Nicodemus trust solely in the Law, but he trusted the Giver of the Law.
- A rich young man came to Jesus with a question. “How do I get eternal life?” Jesus gave him an answer that the young man didn’t expect. The young man was looking for a discipline or a ritual to add to his collection of good works, but Jesus said, “Sell what you have and give it to the poor, and then come follow me.” The young man went away sad, because he was unwilling to give up what was comfortable. He missed out on God, because he insisted on trusting his wealth more than he trusted God.
When God calls us into the unknown, it is imperative that we follow. It might be a call to physically move to another city, or it could be a call to change a dearly held belief, or it could be a call to serve the outcasts. Whatever the call, there is a reason God is calling us. Only by leaving what is comfortable and known and following Jesus can we experience God for who He truly is. It is my belief that we ultimately worship God by following Him into the unknown.
This means worship is more than singing songs. Worship happens through a life that is totally surrendered to God. God deserves more worship than singing a few songs on Sunday morning. God deserves our entire lives surrendered to Him. This is why worship happens best through our trust in God.
I also believe that it is by following God into the unknown that we learn the most about God. Study is very important. I love to study the Bible, and I think it is essential to our spiritual formation. We should never neglect to the study of God’s word. Yet, it is experience that makes what we know about God move from our heads into our hearts. Experience enables us to know God, and not just information about God.
We desire a life of comfort and security. Many of God’s blessings help us experience these things, but if we are not careful, these very same blessing can inhibit us from truly experiencing God in our lives. Often, the best way to experience God is to step out of our comfortable and secure lives to follow Jesus. We will rarely know where he is leading, but we can be confident that in the end we will be one step closer to becoming the people God created us to be.