When was the last time you chose to do something hard or uncomfortable? In a number of conversations and articles recently, I’ve been confronted with the idea that when we always follow our flesh to places of safety comfort and rest, we’re less likely to tolerate necessary discomforts.
One friend simply said “American Christians have no theology of suffering.” That’s a powerful and sobering statement. Christ came so that we might have abundant life. My experience is that the abundant life comes through faith testing experiences that requires sacrifices and hardships.
Clearly, Christ modeled this for us… looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross… there it is. And there are plenty of other passages, but Jesus chose the cross because he saw the joy of my salvation on the other side. This should cause us to ask our selves, our families, and our churches some questions like these:
- When and how might I choose to do hard things because they may lead to the salvation of others?
- When will I lay my pride aside and initiate a faith conversation with a friend or family member who rejected me last time and wants nothing to do with Jesus?
- When will I say no to some new luxury so I can contribute to a mission project?
- When will I resist the pull of the television so I can pray for a friend?
- When will I say no to a recreational opportunity so I can serve someone else and share Jesus in word and deed?
And here are some other challenges… Billions of people around the world have yet to hear the Gospel. Are we raising children who have a sense of Kingdom adventure, mission and sacrifice that will prepare them to go to the hard places to do hard things?
So what do we do? Practice discomfort personally. Lead your family to practice discomfort. Lead your church to practice discomfort…
- Camping is awesome training for missions! Go camping as a family.
- Turn off the AC and sweat for a bit.
- Skip a few meals.
- Go on a long walk (My dad used to call long walks with no food “Endurance Tests”)
- Go work or serve in an unfamiliar place.
- Let your children solve their own problems.