BEWARE OF THE COMFORT ZONE
A comfort zone is exactly as it sounds; it is a zone of comfort. It is a place you like to be or at least you are used to being and are unwilling to step out of it. It is not necessarily a set location or occupation, but it could be, it is more or less a certain set of circumstances you live in, that you have decided is a good place, or a good enough place to be, or even possibly just have settled into, without ever consciously deciding to do so. The Comfort Zone is not always a place of comfort though, as paradoxical as that can sound to some, but it is an accurate statement, the Comfort Zone is not always comfortable. I know of people, myself at times included, that were not actually very comfortable in their comfort zone. I know some reading this are thinking I am saying two things at odds with each other, but I am not. A Comfort Zone is not always a comforting place to be or to live in, and here is the condition that makes all I just rambled about make sense, a Comfort Zone is not always a comforting place to be if we are living in it outside of God’s will for our life. Do we actually live like we believe what the Lord says in Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” If we are to live out this verse chances are you will not visit the comfort zone very long. The Lord likes to stretch us to get the most out of us for His glory and His kingdom and for His will.
Acts 2:14, 41-42 “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:” & 41-42 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
In the Book of Acts we read how the Apostle Peter preached and 3,000 souls were saved in one day; but that never would have happened if Peter had not first been willing, by simple faith in Jesus Christ, to step out of his comfort zone. Peter was a fisherman by trade and that kind of life was his comfort zone. God was able to use Peter once he stepped out of that life. Peter was a rough kind of character, he was impulsive and unpolished, but God was able to use him. God did not call Peter when he was trained, ready and willing to leave his comfort zone to serve Him. God called Peter, when he was untrained, rough around the edges and personally unable to do what God was calling him to do. But that is what God does, He delights in calling those the world would never call, God delights in using those who are unable in mans perception to do the thing God is calling them to do. God delights in using those who are simply willing to obey that call, leave their comfort zone, and trust God to enable them to do what He is calling them to do. Fortunately that is exactly what Peter did; were there some hiccups along the way – yes there usually is. We are frail and weak sheep that need our Lords help. The hiccups usually occur when we think to ourselves “we got this”, and it turns out we don’t. We always need the Lords enabling to do His will with our life. (I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;)
Now do you trust the Lord to enable you? Or are you choosing rather to live your life in the status quo and miss out on what God has for you? If you are comfortably living outside of God’s will for your life, you are comfortably living in a sinful state, choosing your will over God’s will. When someone chooses their will over God’s will, who then is the God of their life? Who is on the throne of the person’s life if they are choosing their will above God’s will? Is it themselves or is it God? When someone chooses their own will over God’s will they are putting themselves on an importance level above God. Who else in Scripture did the same thing? I can think of one example, and he is not someone you would want to be compared with, Isaiah 14:12-15 tells us about this “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Have you chosen your will for your life over God’s will, so you do not have to leave your comfort zone? Don’t make your comfort zone your God, don’t put your will above God’s will. Repent of this great sin of subordinating God’s will to your will, if you have done so, and immediately submit yourself to the will of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. (James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)
Don’t lose hope though if you have currently chosen comfort zone living over God’s will for your life. I dare to say most of us have at some point in our life chosen the comfortable status quo over trusting in the leading of the Lord. The most important thing to do is once you recognize this in your life you need to then choose God and begin the prayer and counsel needed to determine your next step on your adventurous life of living for the Lord, and putting your full trust and confidence in Him. Trust Him with your comfort and happiness and stop trusting in your Comfort Zone; trust God with your future and with your needs and not your Comfort Zone. This needs to become a practice throughout our life, and upon examining my life I remember several distinct moments in my life where I just trusted God and took that leap of faith. I went way, and I mean way out of the comfort zone I was in, and just by faith and faith alone in God, jumped into His will for my life. I hope we all can recognize moments in our life like that too, where we just simply trusted in the leading of the Lord and willingly and enthusiastically jumped into the Lord’s will for our life.
I wish to challenge you to think of what comfort zones you have in your life; are they of the Lord? Or are they of your own making? Watch out and diligently consider if that comfort zone that came to your mind is actually in accordance to God’s will for your life. Do you even consider God’s will in your decision making, as you build your comfort zone or is it all done according to your own will? If you are sensing the Lord trying to tell you something or guide you to something, don’t try to block it out, don’t ignore it, and don’t try to give God some advice on His will for you. Just seek to get assurance of it as quickly as possible and formulate your plan of action to expeditiously pursue His will for your life, no matter what that pursuit of God’s will does to your comfort zone. Make Jesus Christ and His will the preeminent factor in your life. Determine to ensure that your affections are off your comfort zone and that they are actively pursuing Christ and His will for your life. (Colossians 3:1-2 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.)
So how do we do this? How do we make sure we are living according to God’s will for our life and not according to our own will? I would think the best thing to do is to follow the examples set for us in Scripture. What did Abraham do when he was trying to determine the will of God, what did Moses do, what did David do, what did so many others do when they were trying to determine the Lords will for their life? Simple…. they prayed, they sought counsel, they searched the Holy Scriptures and in many cases they waited on the Lord for the answer, for the assurance in the next step in pursuing God’s will. So we should at least do the same, there is nothing better than good old fashioned prayer and lots of it in determining the will of God for our life. God speaks to us from His Word, if you are not reading His Word on a consistent basis how do you expect to hear from Him? Sometimes the Lord just wants us to wait, are you willing to do that? The Bible tells us in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom. For me, I personally seek out trusted Godly men to talk to and pray with and request prayers from whenever I need to make a decision that I think the Lord may be leading me into. You will never determine the will of God for your life if you are not willing to pray like you should, if you are not reading your Bible like you should, if you are not willing to wait on the Lord like you should and if you are not seeking counsel like you should. Be on the lookout for those comforts zones of life and always seek to be living for the will of God and not the comfort zone and trust the Lord’s enabling to do so.
One final question, why you ask, should we be willing to leave our Comfort Zone? Why should we be willing to do whatever the Lord leads us to do or to go wherever the Lord leads us to go? Why is this so important? Why should we be in submission to the Lords will for our life, why do we need to lay all on the altar of sacrifice for our Lord? – One simple answer exists to all the why questions a Christian could think to ask the Lord for leaving our zone of comfort and that is this “because he first loved us” I John 4:19b. We ought to love Him, “because he first loved us” and this ought to motivate us to desire His will and motivate us to translate that desire into the action of doing His will, to follow His leading, to go where He wants us to go and to be what He wants us to be.
One last practical application, you may be thinking how does all of this apply to me right now, in the situation I am presently in? Maybe you are still in your parent’s home, maybe you are older, maybe you already know I am where I am supposed to be, or maybe you have no control over the circumstances you face and could not presently change them no matter what you did. You still need to be willing to step out in faith and leave that “comfort zone” you are in. You may say the state I am presently in is not something I would call comfortable, you still need to approach God with a submissive and contrite heart and be willing to be used by Him, be willing to speak up for Him, and be willing to witness and be a testimony for Him right where you are at. As long as you have that attitude of willing faithful submission to the Lord you will be amazed at what He can do with your life. There are no circumstances too big that the Lord could not change, there is no obstacle too large that the Lord could not remove, and there is no mountain too high that the Lord could not help you to climb. You may be in a terrible valley right now, but the Lord can change your circumstance in an instant. God will not only enable you to change and to trust Him and to do what He wills you to do, He will also, in His time, influence the situations of your life to change. He can change the path of your life when you cannot and when you least expect it, so you can do what He wills for you to do with your life, in whatever state of life you find yourself in. We just need to trust Him. Beware of the Comfort Zone and beware equally of not trusting the Lord to be able to change what you cannot. If you are truly walking with Christ you will not be in that Comfort Zone very long, for He is always willing us to grow for Him and to learn something from Him, we just need to do our part and trust in Him and obey His will and direction. (Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.)