So much of my posting of late has been critical of the American church. I see it. I recognize that. And I am actually not that sorry for it. I can be critical of what I love and hope for. Why? Because being a prophetic voice isn’t about going along to get along.
Today is no different. Well, maybe a little different.
I have a problem with my own craven desire for comfort. I feel like a dog that knows what the word “vet” means. And my master has to chase me around the house for thirty minutes before I begin resisting getting into the car. I am rebellious. I am resistant to Him, regardless of how good it will be for me. I don’t want needles or pills or a bath or a new collar or anything. I don’t. I just don’t.
And I see that I have been corralled into a situation where I have no more room to run. I am backed into a corner. God does this to me, often. I think, entirely wrongly, that I am just pursuing the best course of action. I see the way He indicates for me to go, and then too late I figure out it’s a trap. Not to do me harm, but it’s like He puts a dog biscuit into the car and when I jump in, He shuts the door.
This is me. This is who I am. I am such a resistant, complaining, whiny animal that He knows how to put me where I ought to be, for my good and joy. This is Him. This is God.
And of late I am forced, yes forced, to deal with some junk in my heart. The biggest one, since moving to Nashville, has been my idol of comfort. I never realized how much I quietly, subtly, sell my soul to it.
I say, “I just want a life where everything isn’t a struggle,” but I mean, “I just want a life without struggle.” I dress it up, and I make very rational arguments for my comforts. I say that it’s not too much to ask. I compare my discomforts to others’ comforts and show that I am clearly more uncomfortable than they are. I have it worse, so I deserve better. I am persecuted. I am put upon.
And the deception is most dangerous as it’s partially true. I don’t have two SUVs or granite countertops or my kids in a private school. I don’t take vacations. I mean, I take time off, but the last time I went anywhere, was taking my wife on the cheapest possible trip I could to Disney, for a single day, and it was only the result of saving, scrimping and trying to do the impossible. I nearly gave myself a stroke, it was so stressful. That was more than two years ago. And this quasi-poverty (I qualify for Medicaid for instance) is stressful. But I make it comfortable.
I serve myself. Cheaply, sure, but I could never be convicted of asceticism. I don’t spend every dollar of my pay on only essential items. I pad this cell.
And I do so to my peril. Not because God wants me impoverished. No, I don’t believe that’s true at all. I am in danger because I will worship the margin of comfort I have built, small as it may be. I drive a Kia, but that Kia can be an idol to me without a moment’s notice. It doesn’t have to be a Mercedes. It doesn’t.
See, my idol doesn’t need a stereotype. It’s fine being sincere and looking poor. So long as I rely on comforts outside of Christ, it doesn’t matter what they appear to be. And where I am right now, this very second, on the final day of June in the year of our Lord, 2017, I am being faced with a dilemma that is positively sovereign. I am being pushed to give up all comforts to pursue Jesus. I am being asked, daily, to cry off, gunslinger. I am struggling, in my soul, and asking myself if my intentions, my actions, are pure. I am fighting and at war, to do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And I’m probably failing. That’s to be seen. But I know… I know… I know… that I am in the hand of my Father. And no one snatches me from there.