Recently on a song from KB's new album, I heard a line that I found not only challenging, but incredibly rich. KB effectively challenged our comfort and desire for a life of ease, saying this line: “Who is in more danger, the comfortable or the persecuted?” This is one of the more convicting lines I've listened to in recent months. Especially as I get into my own personal study through Jeremiah, I can't help but wonder if I am comfortable with the idea of discomfort.
Jeremiah was sent to Jerusalem to yell at his own people for their unfaithfulness and idolatry. This command, from the God of the universe, was to say exactly what God told him to and condemn his own people for a life embedded and consumed by sin. He would be hated for his words. He would likely become one of the most unpopular and persecuted prophets of all time. However, comfort was not Jeremiah's aim. Faithfulness was.
Here's why this challenges me. In most areas of my life I am comfortable with the uncomfortable. There is nothing comfortable about hard-work in the gym and heavy squats and monotonous work, day after day. There's nothing comfortable about trying to push reluctant high school kids out of their own comfort zone and get them to achieve the potential that they have no initial desire to reach for. There's nothing comfortable about trying to be a husband who is rung out and exhausted by the way he serves and leads his family. These are all things I'm comfortable with (not necessarily good at, just comfortable with). These are all things I know God has called me to, and I find passion in the discomfort of these callings. However, ask me to stretch our family financially and I might back up from that idea of discomfort. Ask me to give up the sport of weightlifting and give up competing and, if I'm honest with myself, I'm not going be very comfortable responding to that calling. There are very specific things in my life that I am very comfortable with being uncomfortable in. There are also very specific pieces of my life that I'm hesitant or even unwilling to create discomfort in.
The line in the song and the model set by Jeremiah does not give me that ability to compartmentalize my life and tell God what parts and pieces He's allowed to have. God calls me to live my life, regard my family and view my career with an open hand. Just as Jeremiah regarded his popularity, his security, his reputation, and really all facets of his life with an open hand, he was willing to give them all up to respond to God's calling. We must be the same. Those of us who have made idols of different compartments of our lives and will stop at nothing to keep those areas comfortable are to be pitied and challenged.
The line in KB's song challenges us to remember that discomfort that comes from a response to God's calling is one of the greatest blessings God can give to His people. Making much of the Lord and elevating Him high enough in our lives that He takes precedence over everything else will bring you joy unlike anything our “comfort” could ever bring. Comfort is a façade. Comfort is fake, and vanity outside of a surrender to the Lord. Which are you? Are you the comfortable or the persecuted?