In life, one of the things that we all seem to want whether or not we know it is growth. We see growth as we pass grades through school, we see growth in relationships that start and end, we see growth at our jobs when we get a job promotion or when a company is downsizing, and we see growth when there is a dramatic change in life. Growth usually means a change in something, whether forced or not, for us to move into a new place or state. Now, over a period of time, when there is no growth we are left to wonder about how to get to the next level, therefore, we are looking for growth. But we stop short of growing either because we don’t know how to reach that next level or simply because we are scared of reaching a new territory. As Christians we have a habit of staying stagnant. We go to church, bible study, participate in church events, plays, and services. We have constant meetings with people we regularly see. And while there can be change within those spaces, the change or “shift” I am referring to is getting to know and understand people you don’t commonly associate with while getting the opportunity to talk about the gospel.
Think of the current job you are at. You more than likely work with a diverse group of people, now you go to lunch and that pool of people is smaller. Now, you hang out with some co-workers on the weekend and that pool is even smaller. In saying this, I understand by our commonality we’re probably not going to hang out with everyone. But my point is that if you want to bridge the gap amongst co-workers so when a situation comes up about race, religion, or sexuality, more than likely individuals coming together will be able to resolve a situation peacefully.
If you think there is division within the church whether it’s by clergy, denomination, discerning scripture, and leadership among other things, well you are not alone and you are correct. We, as a body, are choosing to be comfortable and this is not what God designed us for. Apostle Paul was willing to spread the Gospel and reinforce it in several in churches that were established like Corinth, Philippi, and Galatia. These churches got too comfortable in what they were doing, not challenging themselves, and ultimately had to be checked by Paul to ensure that they were on the right path. So, do we need to have another Paul, or at least a Paul mindset? Perhaps, but the world is forever changing. Practices and rituals that were done 30 years ago aren’t exactly working to capture the masses. Church structures and portions of the body of Christ are dying because people are unwilling to move forward. In fact, they are dying like Lot’s wife did in Genesis 19:15-26. Looking back does not constitute as moving forward and being comfortable means not spreading the gospel as designed.
Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. God was commanding Joshua to lead a nation. Joshua had to be strong because task at hand wasn’t going to be easy but if he obeyed God and continue to study his word, Joshua would be approved of the work he was doing. We as Christian will avoid the true work and calling of God because we haven’t been equipped to speak the gospel to different parts of our community. This is true because many leaders will either deny or not equip their leadership with the right tool even when God has already provided them. To be out of one’s own comfort zone is to first show fear because the environment is so brand new. And if the Lord is with you, what shall you fear? Sounds like man fears the rejection which in turn can stop Christians from trying to minister to those that need it. But if Jesus (who died on the cross, remember that?) can minister to his last breath then why can’t we speak about the gospel to people outside of our own church walls? The world is changing and for us to effectively give the gospel we must change with it while not becoming the world at the same time.
So what happens when we are stuck? What happens when we have a hard time getting of our comfort zone to tell about the gospel? In 2017, our society hasn’t made it easy to do it. At the same time, are we showing leadership and church members how to get out into the public square to speak about the word of God. So how can we move forward? Outside of “godlike” training and a fearless mind to preach the gospel, moving forward the way God wants us to be another piece. And just like in 2 Timothy 1:7, we will experience opposition from both believers and non-believers. But it should never stop us from what God has called us to do. It’s always sad when a part of the body will not function in unison. Our enemies aren’t always on the outside; sometimes they are on the inside as well. I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all telling people about God if one minute I heard my pastor say one thing, then here another pastor say another thing, and then watch the news and hear several more pastor pick ideological sides. It’s confusing and exhausting which is why one of the best things you can do first is read the bible for yourself. In case you have forgotten, there are wolves and sheep’s clothing and if you are as blind as a bat, then you will fall in their trap easily.
On a final note, over the last several years I have become a big fan of Christian Hip-hop. One of my favorite rappers, Andy Mineo, created a song called “Uncomfortable” . My favorite part is the second half the second verse which goes…
He said it’s hard for a rich man to get to heaven When we feel like we don’t need God, then we forget Him We tell ’em that, if you don’t make me money or make me happy Then I ain’t makin’ time for ya’, so make it snappy And I think lately you mistake me for a cabby ‘Cause this drive that I got put everybody in the backseat So if you wanna live a comfortable life Make sure you never love nobody, be selfish and never sacrifice
To me that is powerful. If you want to serve God and want to see the fruits of your labor, you have to be willing to become uncomfortable. Or, you can be placed into an uncomfortable situation as a test to see if you can pass what God has placed in front of you. Christian has never been about just going to church, singing songs, tithing & offering, or demonizing and speaking down to people because they don’t believe what you believe. It has always been ensuring that the gospel gets spread to all parts of the globe. And we can’t do that if we are still. We must be ready, we must be mobile, and we must be uncomfortable.