This column was written by Melani Lenow and originally appeared on BiblicalWomen.com.
It was finally the weekend after a busy week and an overall busy month. Early on Saturday was a pro-life event and I was debating whether to attend. In my heart, I feel strongly about this cause, but in my flesh I really wanted to sleep late.
My flesh won out, and time after time I silenced my alarm. After all, I deserved a little rest, right? As it was nearing the “if I don’t get up now, there is no way I can make it” time, my youngest daughter toddled into our room and snuggled in close.
“That seals it,” I thought. “I can’t miss snuggling with this sleepy girl.” The decision was made.
Then, the sweet, little, cherub-faced girl next to me had an accident right in my bed. I was soaked. She was soaked. I wish I could say I handled it with grace and kindness, but I didn’t. “I want to rest!” every part of my flesh cried out. But since I had to get up anyway, I decided to hurry and make it, after all, to the pro-life event.
Never did I imagine what God would do in my heart at that event. He had placed some incredible ladies in the same place at the same time and, together, He used all of us for His great purposes over the next six months. Now, I look back and am so thankful for the little accident that pushed me out of my comfort and into God’s plan.
If many of us were honest, we would admit that we want the life of a believer to be easy.
We want to live on a deserted island somewhere with those we love, far from the dangers of terror or sickness or convoluted political races. We might feel passionately about fighting for truth, but after a while our flesh takes root and we want to go back to our safe couches of ease.
I believe this is the most common act of Satan in the life of Christians in our culture. We are lulled to sleep and blind to our own idol of ease and comfort.
This idol can take on two different forms. The first is what I described in the experience above. I saw an action that needed to be taken, but I initially choose disobedience in the name of an easy weekend morning. The second form takes on the likeness of discontentment. We might be working hard right where God has called us. But in the back of our mind we hear the voice of pride or discontentment: “This is hard. I deserve a break. I didn’t think life would be like this. Why does everyone else have….” And the seeds of spiritual whining continue.
The apostle Paul, throughout the book of Acts, gives us a great example of how we should live to battle the idol of ease in our own lives. When we look to fulfill God’s work and not our own desires, we slowly but surely break down the idol.
For example, in Acts 16:23-34, Paul and Silas are miraculously freed from prison. If this were me, I would be tempted to run as fast as I could out of the jail to a safe haven. Instead of following fleshly desires of safety and comfort, Paul and Silas stayed in the jail and tended to the jailor who did not know Christ and was about to take his own life. They shared Jesus with him and eventually the jailor and the rest of his household became believers.
While we know this to have a happy ending, Paul had no way of knowing that was how the jailor was going to respond. It was just as likely that Paul and Silas would be rearrested and treated cruelly as they had so many times before. However, Paul was faithful to share God’s truth to that jailor. His job was to fulfill God’s work, not provide for his own safety and comfort.
The first step of dying to the idol of ease is a willing heart.
God has not called most of us to extreme, dangerous situations every day. But He has called us to work diligently and faithfully in whatever job, location or season He has for us. When He calls you to rest, rest well. But in the meantime, work hard for the Lord, casting down any idol that stands in your way.
Consider Paul’s counsel:
“… whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).
“… and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all” (Philippians 2:17).