I have a confession to make. See I have set comfort above calling and I need to confess that to you today. I’ll explain. Public speaking is something I’m not strong in, but there are times that I feel like God has placed something on my heart to share with you and I often tell my self “yeah I’ll do that one day” then it drifts away to be forgotten. But this week I was really challenged about my comfort, and how I need to set aside my natural tendency to be shy and awkward for the sake of the kingdom.
So today I want to share something with you that was on my heart through this realization. So the city of Capernaum is actually two words, kaphar (village)-nahum(consoler or comforter), or village of the comforter. This is where Jesus spent much of his time, and performed many many miracles. So you would think that this would be a great place of belief in Jesus’ day that he was in fact the Son of God right? Matthew 11:23-24 say otherwise. What happened? Why did the place where so many amazing acts of God take place, become a place of great disbelief? Did they get too comfortable? Where they so disillusioned with the miracles that they saw, so they missed the Son of God in their very presence? Did they miss God’s work because they were too comfortable? Was the name of the city a prophecy of their own demise?
Then this feeling of guilt came over me. I have been setting aside God’s work for comfort. I greet people as they walk in, but find it incredibly uncomfortable to make small talk. Its not the people, its me. I never know what to say in small talk, and it sounds so silly but its really something I fear. All I got in my belt of small talk tools is a “hey how ya doing” “good to see ya” and “some comment on the weather”. How many more opportunities would I have to minister to people, if I just talked to them for like 5 minuets? Then the thought transitioned to the church as a whole. Are we as a church too comfortable? Have we become like the city of Capernaum?
I think when we come to worship on Sunday, we seek comfort, a familiar place with familiar people, many of them we don’t “really know” but we say “oh hey so good to see you!” and call it biblical community. We want to hear a message, sing some familiar songs and go out to eat right? It’s comfortable. It’s predictable. It’s non-invasive, and requires little to no effort.
But what if we are missing the point? What if we came to worship and were willing to set aside comfort, for surrender? To let hidden insecurities, problems, issues and dramas to rise to the surface so they can be confronted directly with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. So that we could help each other in these times because lets just be honest, we all got issues. I think we would see a different church, and a different type of worship. Which led me to this thought.
Every time I come home, no matter what is happening, my daughter waddles her way over to me, and extends her hands up in the air for me to hold her. No matter how mad, happy, sad, or smelly she might be, she just lifts them up. It says to me, dad you can do something for me that I can not, or you provide something that I can not provide myself. It also means, I love you, I trust you to pick me up from where I am, and I want to rest in your presence. This junk I have, I need your help. This toy I have, it is nothing in comparison to being in your arms. Something occurs to her when I walk in the room. She recognizes the presence of her father. Her uplifted hands are an act of humility, love, and reliance on me as her father. Those sweet little hands do not care about the perception her surrender might cast, she cares only about her father at that time. I know these moments are fleeting and soon she will want to avoid me at all cost. But I think God shows us much about our relationship with Him, through the lives we have with our children.
What about us, what do you do when you come into the presence of God? What is your posture, or body language? But first, lets making something clear. Uplifted hands in worship are not an affirmation of the worship band. Its not for me or anyone else. It is not a worldly approval of what is going on in the room. It does not say hey look at me. It is not only for those who have a “special spiritual connection” with the Lord. It is a recognition of the presence of our Heavenly Father. It is the same act that my daughter is portraying when her stinking little butt walks up to me and say’s “dada”. In the same way we say God, I need you, I surrender to you. I praise you, I want you to hold me, I want to be near you! Yet for most of us, especially the men, what keeps us from it? It’s uncomfortable, it feels embarrassing, as I said, its an act of surrender or reliance on something other than yourself, and that takes a laying down of pride, which is the last thing a man is supposed to do right? Look weak?
Have we become like the city of Capernaum who thinks they know but they don’t? Are we so comfortable in our American church routine that we are missing Jesus? Do you get excited about Jesus? Do you hear from God? Does the gospel stir something inside you to worship? Yes, we sing along and that is great, but anyone can sing karaoke. Are you worshiping?
Let’s get uncomfortable for Christ. Lets, set aside our natural tendencies, for the glory of God. I believe worship has been given to us for the means of glorifying God by connecting, mind, soul and body all together. To position ourselves in a posture of surrender. This posture, is physical, verbal, as well a spiritual. Let’s be a church that’s ok with being uncomfortable, because often times its our discomfort that positions us to be changed by God. Its when conviction comes and we are uncomfortable and that we are prompted to repent. It’s the uncomfortable aspects of life that make us turn to Jesus. No where in scripture does God say, I want you to be happy and comfortable in your flesh. Is there happiness, yes in the assurance that our flesh is dying and there is a greater life to come. Can we rejoice, yes because when we were still yet sinners God came to redeem us. The cross wasn’t comfortable, but it was necessary and when we pick up our cross and follow Jesus, it is a promise that you will be uncomfortable. That you will be hated by the world, that it will sound like foolishness to even your friends and family, but our joy is not found here on earth, in earthly things, nor is our comfort. Our comfort and joy comes from the utter reliance on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that one day, in the new heaven and earth, we will experience true comfort in the holy presence of God. The enemy wants you to be comfortable, to be ok with being ok. To be predictable and to drift towards complacency and to completely miss our ability to recognize the presence of our Father in Heaven.
We have the ability to come before Him humbly submitted to Him.
Church lets get uncomfortable. If you can not do it with like minded believers who, believe it or not, are not perfect, then how can we expect to do it anywhere else. The next time you come into worship, be intentional, be expectant to encounter God, and more importantly, be willing to be a little uncomfortable in your worship. Who’s the church? We are, and we gotta go take what happens here, what we learn here, and share it out there. And you know what? That, is uncomfortable.