Are you bold for your faith, or do you falter when it becomes troublesome?
Yesterday I shared with you what God is teaching me about the idol of comfort. I am at a retreat with other ministry leaders, and the theme of being stretched beyond my comfort zone keeps coming up over and over.
During the time of invitation yesterday, the speaker challenged those of us who felt led to stand up and sing the words to "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." Not together as a congregation. That would be comfortable. But individually, which made me very uncomfortable.
As he stepped off the platform, my heart started to race. Has that ever happened to you when God was speaking to your heart? I knew I should stand up and sing like the speaker prompted. One problem—I don't sing, at least not well.
And so an argument began between God and I. I said things like "I can't sing!" and "Wouldn't it be more spiritual if I just knelt beside my chair and prayed?" and "How about if I just sing it quietly to you?"
The more I argued the louder my heartbeat became.
Finally, I stood. But I did not sing.
My heart beat louder.
Then I let my lips move a little. But I did not sing.
The pounding increased.
I continued to wrestle with God. I wanted to rebel. I wanted to shut out the prompting of the Holy Spirit in my life. I wanted to be comfortable.
Eventually, I sang the wimpiest version of "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" that anyone has ever heard. Actually no one heard it. I sang so quietly that the people standing on either side of me did not even know I was singing.
Just as I finished the last word, I heard another voice booming out of the crowd. Someone boldly sang the words to the same hymn. Everyone heard her and soon joined in. The difference between that woman and me is that she obeyed God, even if it made her uncomfortable.
Peter had a similar moment. The day before Jesus was betrayed, Peter told Jesus that he was willing to follow Him to prison and to death. But when the stakes got really high, he chose to be comfortable. He denied even knowing Jesus three times before the rooster even crowed (Matthew 26).
But he didn't stay in that comfort zone. When future opportunities to serve Jesus came, he took them. He preached the gospel and boldly proclaimed that Jesus was Lord even when it came at a tremendous personal cost. In the end he choose boldness over comfort, and it made all the difference. In fact, Jesus built His church on the life of Peter (Matthew 16:18).
I want to be more like Peter. I want to be bold for Jesus. I don't want to hear another rooster crow and feel the regret of sticking to what's comfortable.
How about you? What is God asking you to do that's making you uncomfortable? Are you struggling with the regret of choosing a sin or a relationship or a behavior that was easy but isn't of God? What do you think He could do with your life if you would stop ignoring His prompting in your heart?
"For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold" (2 Corinthians 3:10–12).