WEEK 5: Jump the River
“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NLT)
While driving through the United States on a short visit, I found myself liking and disliking different houses as we passed through many streets. I would decide on my ‘top five’ in a neighbourhood and could imagine myself living in any of them if I was a millionaire (well, I’d probably need to be a billionaire!). It’s then that it struck me: I was having unrealistic daydreams about a nice and comfortable life and I was ‘floating further down the river’.
I then thought about a young Western family that we met in the Middle East. They had made the intentional decision to live there and to reach out to their neighbours, other parents at the government school, and the shop owners at the local market with the love of Christ. They said to us that life was like a river, and if you don’t deliberately choose to jump out of the river, the current will take you and wash you out to sea.
When preacher Francis Chan announced in 2010 that he would be resigning from the megachurch he and his wife had founded in 1994, a congregation member challenged him: “Why would you leave? Everything is going so well right now!” Chan answered: “That’s why, that’s it.” He said that they as a family felt that they were just too comfortable with their lives. They felt they had to step out in faith and be led by the Holy Spirit, because “why do we need the Comforter when we’re already comfortable?”
The world and media want us to long for things that don’t please God – they want us to struggle to secure our own comfort and safety and sometimes we have to suffer just to keep the status quo. Many a time our comforts come at the expense of the Kingdom. May we get uncomfortable with comfort, may we get dissatisfied with living easy lives and may we act on the pull of God, so that we can jump out of life’s river and escape the current.
“Yes, you must live life beautifully and not allow the spirit of the world that makes gods out of power, riches, and pleasure make you forget that you have been created for greater things.” – Mother Theresa