Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Uncomfortable Truth

It seems that America is obsessed with comfort these days. Have you noticed all the mattress commercials? They all claim that their brand is the most comfortable and tell us that we need to replace our mattress every eight years to maintain that optimum comfort. One mattress store will even finance your mattress for eight years. (I don’t care how comfortable the mattress is, if you finance it, you’ll probably be up half the night worrying about making your mattress payment).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably more obsessed with finding physical comfort than most people. One of the most difficult things about being paralyzed by ALS is trying to get comfortable because my body is literally dead weight. There’s no turning over or even turning my head in order to get more comfortable when I go to bed. I recently got a new mattress, the one that I see the most commercials for, and it’s every bit as comfortable as the manufacturer claims, and I really do sleep better. (Don’t tell the mattress people, but the mattress I replaced was twelve years old).

So I really appreciate physical comfort, but…

It also seems that much of the Western world is seeking a more comfortable (politically correct…) form of Christianity. Even if I wanted to do so, I’ve concluded that I’m just not clever enough to make Jesus and the New Testament into something more “comfortable.” Even writing this post is out of my comfort zone.

Like a lot of non-Christians, before making a commitment to follow Christ, I viewed Christians as narrow-minded, judgmental and hypocritical. My cynicism about Christians (churchgoers) was so deep that, even after committing to follow Christ, I wanted nothing to do with church or churchgoers (“organized religion“). For about five months, I read the Bible for an hour or two every night. With no preachers or churchgoers to influence me, I learned to just take the Bible at face value – I became convinced that it is God’s word.

truth and comfort
I eventually accepted an invitation to go to church and discovered that most Christians are not narrow-minded, judgmental or hypocritical. I also came to realize that non-Christians can be all of the things that I was accusing Christians of being.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

How does one make words like Jesus’ above quote more “comfortable” for the Jew, the Muslim, the Buddhist, the Hindu or for anyone else of a different belief system? As I said, I’m not that clever. Even if we “speak the truth in love,” as the Bible instructs us to do, verses like this and so many others can be taken as fightin’ words by many people.

Jesus is not a unifier; He is the most divisive figure in all of history. Trying to make His words more “comfortable” will only serve to strip them of their life-transforming and hope-giving power. Besides that, people deserve honesty not comfortable condescension.

Other than His most devout followers, the only people that Jesus succeeded in unifying was/is His political and religious enemies: “Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day (the day they crucified Jesus); for before they had been enemies with each other.” (Luke 23:12).

CS Lewis

CS Lewis

What would a “comfortable” (acceptable to all religious and political groups) “Christianity” look like? China has already given us the answer. The following are just some of the rules the Chinese state-approved “churches” have to follow:

• The Communist Party has the final decision on who can preach and what can be preached.
• Preaching about the resurrection and the second coming of Jesus is forbidden.
• Gathering to worship outside approved churches and official “meeting points” is forbidden.
• Evangelizing or giving out tracts is forbidden.
• Importing Bibles is forbidden, even if they are given away for free.
• Printing Bibles is forbidden, even if they are given away for free.
• Government officials cannot be Christian.
• Teachers cannot be Christian.
• Soldiers cannot be Christian.
• Police officers cannot be Christian.
• Children and teenagers cannot be Christian.

Obviously the above is not Christianity, but sadly there are many churches in North America and Western Europe that could relocate to the middle of Beijing without having to change what they preach.

China is officially an atheist country, including the education system. But the truth is that China will soon have more Christians than any other nation on earth. The majority of these Chinese Christians meet secretly in house churches that teach the true message of the Gospel. They risk beatings, imprisonment, losing their homes, jobs and even their lives. Like the early Christians and so many oppressed believers around the world today, they’ve chosen the uncomfortable road.

Opendoors.org

Opendoors.org

With the increasing pressure from governments, the education system, the media and even some Christian denominations to make Christianity more politically correct and comfortable for all people, which road will you choose?

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129 thoughts on “Uncomfortable Truth

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  1. Blaze Hunter on said:

    Thank you for this post. I truly believe this is confirmation that my words were spirit led and not of me. I spread the uncomfortable truth and other believers are saying I’m being “insensitive” I’m just being obedient. Thanx again. God bless you.

  2. Thank for speaking against Politicall-Correct Christianity. I hope one day, I’ll be able to re-blog this. I’m a newbie on Nokia 205 Internet.

    I’m also glad that you dislike the hypocrisy of churchgoers.

  3. China may have more Christians than Europe and America, but it is also such a huge country with so many inhabitants. But please do know that soon there may be many belonging to Christendom over there, the same as in the West not so many shall belong to Christianity.

    For having more people coming to belong to Christianity they still shall have to learn to put away the human dogma’s and most difficult the human traditions, which are so close to their heart. But God wants to be truthful worshippers and demands full honour and honesty of heart.

  4. While teaching in China for a few years, I was full of the missionary spirit and straight up told my Communist boss that I was going to teach my students (middle and high-schoolers in public school) about the Love of God. He said to go for it. So much officialdom in China, but everything that counts is back-door, under-the-table. Actually, because of the one-party system, people are immediately
    skeptical of anything they read sourced from the government; we in the western world could learn a lot from that. I do know there are crack-downs on religious meetings sometimes and that there is real persecution there (read Brother Yun’s works) but I can attest to Christ working in the people in China, and it’s much more apparent there than it is at least here in so-called Christian USA.

  5. Great article Bill. This is such a reality check for many, myself included. We need to step out of our comfort zone and recognize the Bible being revealed all around us. The last thing we need to be in is a comfortable state of mind in fact we must redeem the time because the days are evil. Like Paul we are to preach the kingdom of God and teach those things concerning the Lord with all confidence not being without hinderance. Redeeming, the time because the days are evil. And being not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Thanks for sharing Bill.

    Be A Blessing!

    LaTrice

  6. So true! Keeping current on the situations of those being persecuted for their faith reminds me how comfortable we really are here. Even in our difficult circumstances, what is our relationship with Jesus? Distant? Convenient? Or do we love him and follow him because of who he is? No matter what. I know where you stand! Thank you. Well said…written. 🙂 And I’m glad your bed is working out.

  7. Thank you so much for making out time to visit my blog and for the like. God’s blessings to you in the name of Jesus Christ.

  8. What a great article. I do believe people seek comfort far more now than even a few decades ago. Many things just a few years ago were uncomfortable and people just accepted it. Our society’s aim to make everything easier hasn’t always produced the best outcomes. Labor hurts but is necessary to birth new life. I think the same thing applies spiritually as well. So many of us expect Jesus to make things easy for us instead of embracing Jesus to be with us as we go through those painful points in life.

  9. .Excellent post… glad you found a comfortable bed… As for me, the cross is beautifully offensive and I embrace it with everything within me. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus, for it’s the power of God unto salvation.

    • Thank you, Pastor. Romans 1:16 is the perfect verse to quote for this because it’s being ashamed of the “uncomfortable” gospel that motivates Christians to soften the message to make it more “comfortable.”

      • Wow. This is very convicting. I have a friend who is married to a muslim, and he is the kindest man I’ve ever met. When the gospel has been brought up in conversation between me and his wife, I become extremely uncomfortable …. not because I am in danger, but because I don’t want to lose her friendship. The thing is, she KNOWS the gospel too, but choses to believe that her husband will go to heaven because he is such a good, loving man. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

      • Thank you, Teri. When we’re discussing what we believe about truth (in regards to God..), you want to stay away from the person’s nature (“kind,” “good,” “loving…”), I would have said the same thing if you told me that this man was unkind, bad and unloving… I’ve known good Muslims, Hindus and atheists. I’ve also known some unkind Christians. Regardless of our race or religion, we’re all born with a nature and we cannot get credit (from God) for a good nature that He’s given us. Besides, Jesus didn’t come to make us into “good people,” He “came to save sinners.” Even if this man is the kindest and best Muslim in history, he still qualifies as a sinner because we’ve all sinned. This is the uncomfortable truth, Teri.

  10. I add my thanks and appreciation to all the others’ for this post, Bill. When I think of what challenges some Christians have overcome (Nick Vujicic is the perfect example) and how fruitful they are for the Lord, it makes me ashamed of my comfortable smallness. I pray Holy Spirit will stir up and rouse the Sleeping Giant – Christians in North America – to step out and live our faith more fully. It will get increasingly more challenging – are we willing to say “yes” to Jesus, no matter what?

    • Thank you, Vera. Nick is a great example of someone who “speaks the truth in love” – he just loves all people equally.
      I also agree with you that standing up for your faith is going to become more difficult in the coming years – even in America.
      Thank you so much for the re-blog.

  11. The True Light! on said:

    What a great post! I wish a friend of mine here could make the same discovery you did about going to church. He a “naturalist” and thinks the same way you used to about all church congregates.

    But God is in control of the situation, and maybe he’ll one day see what you have talked about here in your post. Great job…(and your mattress secret is safe with me!)

    Steve

    • Thank you, Steve. There are a lot of non-Christians like your friend. They generally dislike “religion,” but notice that their anger is almost always vented on the Christian faith. It’s tempting to think this is because they’re not brave enough to take on Islam, but it’s not that simple because it was the same pattern before this horrible Islamic terrorism.

      • The True Light! on said:

        I think people just get offended in some way by a thoughtless comment and then they drop church services and never look to go again!

        The duty of worshipping God is not one to be ignored by His children! There is no excuse not to gather with like-minded believers to praise God on the Lord’s Day…just my opinion…

        Steve

      • I agree with you, Steve, about Christians making offensive comments, but Christians don’t have a monopoly on saying offensive things.

      • The True Light! on said:

        Very true. Thoughtless things come from the mouths of all kinds of people. James knew what he was saying when he wrote “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.…” (Jas.3:8).

  12. What a wonderful post and much needed I think in today’s upside down world. Although I suppose every age has it’s darkness but we here in the West seem to living in particularly deluded times.

    I want to thank you too for being a bit challenging with this subject as it hit me in places that really needed it. I struggle in this area you know, in believing a relationship with Jesus is the only way to salvation. My heart knows this but my head hollers at me me to question and think about all the other people that don’t believe and why would God put them here knowing they would end up damned. The more I read and contemplate the Bible the more I understand but it’s still a struggle.

    It all make s me feel very UNCOMFORTABLE, which it very well should, right? I hope I”m making sense. Like I said I really enjoyed this post. The mattress tips were a bonus. 😉

  13. I LOVE THIS POST! I’m a fan of CS Lewis, so your quotes hit spot on. Comfort isn’t what God ever promised or asked of us. The enemy–i think–insidiously connects comfort with love. If God loves us, of course He’d make us comfortable. You’re living testimony that this isn’t truth. You’ve stepped out to call us out, Bill, and I’m grateful. For me, it means changing the way I look at things. Is it comfort I’m seeking–or growth? Because growth always requires a bit of pain and discomfort. It it’s going to stick with me. Thanks so much for this remarkable piece of honesty.

    • Thank you, Dayle. As you said, there’s little growth in comfort. I wasn’t pointing fingers, I’m as guilty as the next “comfortable” Christian. I like what you said about equating comfort with love, that is so true.

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