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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

The Comfort Zone
Date Posted: July 10, 2008

Imagine yourself in an existence where your job goes smoothly, your paycheck covers all the bills and a nice vacation. Your family gets along most of the time. You have a nice circle of friends. You attend church on Sunday mornings and help out with Vacation Bible School when asked. You remember to thank God every couple of days for all your blessings and ask Him to continue to bless you. You donate money to a few favorite causes each year - it's the least you can do.

You have entered The Comfort Zone! (Hum the music in your head.)

The Comfort Zone is where we would all like to be in much of our day-to-day existence; not having to think too much about our choices and having everything proceed along smoothly. It is also the place we must avoid as Christians.

To truly be a Christ follower means constantly stepping out of that comfort zone. It means volunteering to help when no one else is willing, even for the dirty jobs. It means ministering to others more than one week during the summer (not that VBS isn't important). It means thanking God for His blessings and asking for his direction, even if that happens to be outside the comfort zone. It means expecting problems and turning to God to get through them, because Satan will attack an active Christ follower!

In business, sports, education and most of aspects of life stepping out of our comfort zones is a positive thing. Why would we think it's any different in our spiritual lives?

It seems to me that as Christians we are either climbing or backsliding. We can't just stand on a ledge part-way up the mountain and say, "I've reached my peak and I'm happy with my level of service". There is always more to learn, more to be done, and somewhere to grow.

I don't adapt to change very well. I'm sentimental and I like the familiar. Stepping out of my comfort zone is very uncomfortable for me, yet God asks me to do it each day. I have to admit I don't always listen. Sometimes I create my own chaos to drown out what God is trying to tell me. Other times I throw myself into "church" or "service" work because it's "good" and must be what God wants me to spend my time doing. I also procrastinate, promising myself (and God) that I will call/write that person tomorrow or work on that project next week, even though I feel Him leading me to do it today.

In Revelation 3:16 Paul writes the words of the Lord, "because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out!" That sounds like a comfort zone temperature to me. Going along to get along.

Stepping out every day for the cause of Christ is not an easy thing to do. God knows this and he prepares us with His Spirit and equips us with His Word so that we are up to the task. Let's not forget our encouragers - those fellow Christ followers who pray for us and cheer us on. What? All your Christian friends and church family members don't encourage you? Perhaps some of them are stuck in The Comfort Zone. Make sure you don't get stuck there with them; otherwise who will encourage them to step out?

Finally, take this encouragement written to the Roman church: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality" - Romans 12:11-13.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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