By Samuel Lam
Last week, Apple introduced the new Apple Watch. It’s a watch that acts like a smart phone. Except for the calling function, the watch tells time and helps keep track of many things. You can even purchase new things on the Apple Watch, including another Apple Watch. It’s totally unnecessary.
As we progress through technology and all these advances we have in the world, we start to lose a little sense of the way things were. Nobody needs this watch, but we’ve found another shortcut through life with these inventions. Some are great and have helped us improve our living. But at times, our dependency on our own natural skills has diminished.
I think that part of this is why we as a generation find it so hard to do difficult things. Or if you think about it, things seem difficult because we’ve de-sensitized our senses to things. What used to be common and natural has now become alien to us. We’ve lost our discipline because of our distractions.
That was the first thought when we started to go over our sermon theme for the next two months: Do Hard Things. You can listen to them online right here.
There are plenty of things that seem hard to us but in reality, is easy. After all, common things like reading the Bible or focusing on prayer used to be easy for us. Then we loaded up our plate with so much busyness that it now becomes an inconvenience. We pencil in Jesus time in our schedule, hoping that maybe for five minutes we can chat with our Lord. If not we’ll reschedule for tomorrow.
One thing that really stands out is how cushy we’ve made our lives to be. It’s nice to have conveniences around but the more we keep our eyes on the screen, the more we forget what it was like to be a little uncomfortable. We’re not challenged. We stick with what we know and play Candy Crush, 2048 or watch the newest episode of Dancing With the Stars.
How much of the easy life are we willing to give up to better ourselves? How much of it are we willing to give up for our Lord?
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
— Luke 14:33 (NIV)
We’ve marginalized and categorized Jesus into something that fits our schedule. We don’t want to be inconvenienced. And the idea of doing extra hard work just sounds uncomfortable. Like the above photo of being on a crowded subway train, we just don’t want to deal with it.
But the path to Christ is not meant to be easy. Being a Christian wasn’t designed to be a smooth ride. Our lives are harder because we hold ourselves to a standard so high. All because of our love of God. Our lives will be uncomfortable going forward.
To be a follower of Christ, we must do things that are Christ-like. That could be something as simple as giving up your favorite dessert so the person next to you in line can have it. Or maybe it’s giving the homeless person the time of day for a quick five-minute chat instead of just walking past them. It’s foregoing your Breaking Bad binge watch to help out at Family Promise. It’s asking a your electrician if it’s OK to pray for them because you know he’s going through a divorce. Or maybe it’s something as simple as telling a co-worker that you can’t make it to Happy Hour because you have a life group meeting.
Some of this is a little uncomfortable. Maybe all of it. These things we used to do so well is now something we don’t do at all. Sharing, caring, talking and offering a hand are all things that used to do every day. But we can’t even do that right, let alone do it for Christ. It gets uncomfortable. It shakes up our little world. We rather log onto Facebook and share our status updates or curl up on our couch and watch SportsCenter. Anything that takes us out of our little comfortable world is not worth it for us. We don’t risk our own comfort for Christ. We’ve kind of made our lives bigger than Him.
Can we get uncomfortable for Jesus? Can we find comfort in being uncomfortable because we’re representing Jesus?
It’s not easy. We’ve put ourselves in this situation but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. It just takes a push. Sometimes we need a friend to tell us to get on with our daily prayer life. Or maybe we just need to fast or completely give up something that distracts us from reality. Or maybe we just need to see how much dependency we have on the conveniences in life and how that hurts our dependency on Jesus. Or maybe, we can simply just have a chat with God through prayer about it.
It’s time for us to get uncomfortable. It’s time for us to do hard things. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. But when we let go of the sweet life and get on the Jesus life, you’ll then see that being uncomfortable is OK.
Taking that extra minute to talk to a homeless man could open up a chance to share about Christ. Asking your teacher if she needs prayer might be awkward, but allow you to really make a connection you thought might not have been there. Giving up your time, your resources, your effort for your “socially awkward” friend to feel welcome might just be the starting point to an everlasting friendship.
It’s the hard things we do that builds us up.
God never promised that following Him would be comfortable. In fact, it’s the opposite. But it’s through the lack of comfort do we challenge ourselves to grow stronger mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. And through the tough times, we depend less on our conveniences and more on Jesus for guidance. We’re better for it. We need it.
I hope as we continue to learn from this sermon and apply these lessons into our lives, that we become what God hopes for us to be in this world. It’s a whole lot better than the easy life.
Let’s go make our life a little uncomfortable for Christ.
Samuel Lam: Samuel is a Bay Area native living in Southern California working in sports media. He blogs on many topics, including sports, music, movies, travel and especially faith. Sam also runs his own personal sports blog on his free time. Check him out at: Green Eggs and Lam & But At The End Of The Day.