The Problem with Comfort Zones
The idea of a comfort zone is nothing new to us. We all have our comfort zones and if we should lose it, we immediately begin to manufacture a new one. If we are honest with ourselves, comfort zones make us feel better about who we are and what we do. It makes our lives a little easier and more convenient and who doesn’t want those two things in their lives? But what exactly is a comfort zone? As the name itself suggests, a comfort zone is a place or environment which grants one comfort and a certain level of satisfaction but that’s not the true essence of comfort zone. A comfort zone, while it does seek to provide comfort, is where one is able to wield a high level of control and where they are able to maintain increased security. Comfort is the ultimate goal but safety and control are the major priorities.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like being in charge and in control of making decisions and calling the shots. We bask in the freedom and increased sense of pride we get in being that way and we most certainly enjoy the security it gives to our physical, emotional and psychological beings. But comfort zones pose major problems for the Christian who is seeking to become more like Christ. It is not inherently sinful to have a comfort zone but if we let it, it certainly can become sinful. Here is what I mean. As Christians, we have been clearly taught and admonished to submit to Jesus Christ. Submission requires a certain level of giving up control. We are not in charge of our lives anymore, Christ is! And if that surprises us then maybe we should read Galatians 2:20 once more: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Control and supreme control is something that, biblically speaking, belongs to Jesus. He Himself was given all authority and in Heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) and since He created everything including us and since He gives us everything we have, then He most certainly has to have some form of rule over our lives and how we live. Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Are we allowed to decide where we want to go on vacation? Absolutely! Can we call the shots on what kind of food we have in our home and where our kids go to school? Of course. Those aren’t the things which are at stake here. What’s at stake is whether or not I am willing to give up that control to become a better disciple of Christ and a better brother/sister in Christ. Think about it this way. I am in control of deciding whether or not I want to get out of bed on Sunday morning to go to bible study and worship services. I may feel pretty comfortable and satisfied with staying in bed but what is more important to me in my spiritual life: Being comfortable in bed or serving Jesus and being with my brethren?
You see, I am in control of whether or not I get in the car and drive to the services but am I willing to surrender myself to Christ in body and mind and let Him live in me? If I do that, will I have a problem deciding whether or not I should be at the next bible study or the next opportunity be with my brethren and encourage them? Am I still living for myself or is Christ the one living in me? These are questions we all need to ask and answer ourselves. Jesus told us that when we come to Him we must be prepared to make sacrifices and changes. And one of those changes is to completely surrender to Him. He is in control of our lives.
“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Lk. 9:23-24). The idea of me, myself and I should no longer take precedence but instead I should be asking how can I love God more and be there for my neighbor?
Would that then entail getting outside of my comfort zone by giving up some control and some security for the sake of the spiritual well-being of others and the glory of God? If I am someone who values my comfort zones so much to the point where I don’t want to go to worship God because I don’t feel in control and I am not comfortable enough, what does that say about my love for God and love for my brethren?
In addition to that, I am really saying that I don’t want to get to Heaven at all. Rewards and dividends are never given to people who sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing. Dividends are paid out to folks who work hard and make sacrifices. God’s reward for us, Heaven, will be given to a people who love Him which means putting in the work and making sacrifices and changes.
Heaven is for a people who seek to be there for others even if that means that they are very inconvenienced, very uncomfortable and they have little or no control at all. The words self-less, service, sacrifice and suffering all have one major thing in common. All these are always absent from our comfort zones. Why is that? Because these qualities, which Jesus had and which we must have, take work and they can only be fulfilled if we give up our need to be in control and secure.
True followers of Christ who know the scriptures and accept God’s promises as true, understand that there is no safer place that being in God’s presence and going to Him in prayer. There is no greater comfort than having His word and being with His family! The problem with our comfort zones, if we are not careful, is that it will trip us up and deceive us into thinking we can get to Heaven by doing little to no work at all.
Comfort zones will ever lead us to anything of true value and worth. Moses knew this and that is why He chose to suffer for God instead of being rich in Egypt (Heb. 11:24-25). Jesus knew this and that is why He offered Himself so that we could be forgiven of our sins and we could have Heaven. But we need to get out of our comfort zones. We need to submit to Christ and let Him be the King of our lives. We need to love Him and serve our brothers/sisters. We can take courage that He is our rock and our strength and if we are with Him, there is none that can be against us! Let’s be people that get out of our comfort zones more.