This morning we didn’t go to church because of a stomach bug that has been slowly working its way through our family. Instead, I decided to look up a sermon online for our family to watch. I happened to come across the website of David Platt, and found video of a sermon he preached last year regarding the importance of valuing Christ over comfort. This was definitely thing thing we needed to watch as a family; it was very convicting for me and it started a great conversation between me and my wife.
Suffering vs Comfort
This message really compliments the chapter on Suffering from John Piper’s Desiring God that I just finished listening to (in audiobook form). The major takeaway for me is the stark contrast of my “easy”, comfortable life in comparison with the words of scripture. There is a very real danger of living a comfortable, easy life where safety, health, and comfort take my focus off of that which is truly life: living for Christ and in close relationship with Him. And so my goal today is to treasure Christ above everything else, which inevitably will cause me to make different choices regarding investments, relationships, desires, goals, and time. Practically, there are a few things that I’m hoping to change right away:
Spend Less, Give More
Whenever I think about where my focus is, especially in relation to my comfortable life, it’s easy to identify the needless “entertainment” hobbies and other areas where I spend money on things that are purely focused on me. One area is the board gaming hobby, which has already scaled back quite a bit. I’m planning to not purchase any new board games, and instead look for ways to sell or give away most of the games that are sitting on the shelf, collecting dust. Also, I have a tendency to jump at self-help and health-related things pretty quickly. If there’s a book that promises to solve my productivity problem, I buy it; even if I don’t have the time to read it. I’m learning, however, that not all books are amazing, and it’s better to check out the ebook or audiobook from the library first. Of course, there are other areas where I can cut back, but the goal is to be able to give more. So many people in this world don’t know Jesus, and others are in just desperate need as they tirelessly work to reach the lost; surely I can deny myself and give to that cause. It’s a first step.
Pray and Study with Purpose
I found it interesting to follow along with David Platt’s encouragement to his church at the end of the sermon, where he asked everyone to pray first for the persecuted church, and then for themselves. I stopped the video and my family and I prayed for the believers in prison and in need, and I realize that I don’t do that enough. It’s so easy to forget the brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering, in prison, and facing severe persecution. But it’s the reality even today, despite what the delusion of a peaceful, comfortable American life wants me to believe. Additionally, I’m motivated to study the scriptures to know Christ more. I know the truth in my mind: Christ is everything. But experientially and in my heart, I still need the help of God’s word and His Spirit to make that real in my life. Some of this comes from hearing the word, and even more from living out this belief. Lately, my Bible reading has been more consistent, but it feels like the word is only going surface-deep. My prayer is that as I continue to dig into the scriptures, God will allow the word to go deep and work in my heart.
To Be Continued…
I’m sure this will be a continuing theme for me over the next few months, if not the next few years and decades. I fully expect that as I take steps in this area, more horizons of opportunity will open up for radical commitment to Christ. I’m praying that my eyes will be opened to see even more clearly what a vastly superior treasure Jesus is.