Overvaluing comfort
February 1, 2022, 11:35 AM

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

Self-denial isn't resigning oneself to a life of misery and drudgery. The opposite is true. Dying to ourselves and living for Christ is where absolute joy, security, and purpose reside. But, to rest in this state entails work and intention on our part.

Sacrifice and surrender require something from us, which means we need to measure the cost of following Christ (Luke 14:28). We expose the areas of our hearts where we are chasing comfort and convenience above all else. We confront the line items on our personal agenda we don't want to scratch out by slowing down long enough to reflect and ponder. We display courage by pushing through comfort's charm and head towards God's specific purpose for our lives, leading to a place of refinement, inconvenience, and stretching.

Paul urges us to "work out YOUR salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). At face value, not a very comforting or convenient statement. Don't confuse these words for a charge to earn spiritual merit badges through good works. Remember, God's grace is a gift.
You can't earn something given to you with no strings attached. So, what Paul is telling the believers in the church of Philippi (and us) is to put God's saving work into action in YOUR own life. The way you go about your day should serve as a response to being loved.

Working out your salvation necessitates ruthless personal reflection, listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings, and clarifying your calling. It means possessing a willingness to say to God, "Yes, Lord, I will obey….now, what's the question? I'm going to follow You wherever You lead. I'm going to trust You with who I am becoming. I am going to submit my ways to You." Christ calls each one of us to die to ourselves and pick up our cross - a universal command that gets displayed by obedience in a variety of different ways.

Jesus calls us to follow Him (John 12:26), and following Him means, first and foremost, to die. To lay down our desires. To lay down our hopes and dreams. To put aside anything other than complete devotion to Him and His plan for our lives. To be willing to part with the things that we so easily cling onto for life and to say to God, "I'm willing to lay them down if it means You can use me to bring You glory and bear fruit so that others may know You as God."

We shouldn't overvalue comfort when we count the cost of being a disciple. Instead, we have to choose our calling over our comfort. Clarifying our sacrifice makes room for our purpose and calling to become more evident. The time has come to put the work in so you can articulate YOUR cross. In what situations do you need to drop your plan, pick up your cross, and follow Christ?

Prayer: Father God, I want to stop overvaluing comfort when I count the cost of being a disciple and following You. Instead, I want to do the work necessary to articulate my cross. Instead of comfort, may I confidently deny myself knowing that You will use this sacrifice to make an impact. In Jesus’  name, Amen.

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