Practice Getting Uncomfortable
by Pastor Scott
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was also part of the anti-Nazi resistance and died by hanging as a POW at the age of 39. He had a rich spiritual life and was a prolific writer. He believed there were some specific things each Christian needed to do to maintain their relationship with God and enjoy God’s peace: to take time each day for reading and meditation on Scripture, spend time in prayer and to allow God to intercede. Bonhoeffer also believed that faith is not to be taken lightly but is of such great value that our devotion should cost us something.
Paul writes in the book of the Philippians, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The peace that Paul is talking about is far from the absence of conflict in one’s life, it is the presence of well-being that comes directly from God in the middle of the conflict. This peace is a strength beyond anything the world can give and becomes personal between God and you, empowering you to action and victory.
Paul’s words are intended to encourage us to behave with consideration to others and to think positively about their lives. Has it ever dawned on you that when you are feeling conflicted, confused and are lacking peace that you are not much good to anyone around you? But sadly, most of us tend to worry about too many things, whether it is raising our children, paying the bills, keeping ourselves safe from a pandemic or just worrying about what the future holds. Our attitudes at times do the very opposite of what trusting in the Lord our God is all about.
It is important to remember these are not bits of advice that you may find on your desk day calendar. The words that Paul writes in Scripture and the guidance given by Dietrich Bonhoeffer were written while these men were in prison facing capital charges. These men also were taking responsibility for the spiritual health of the Christian brothers and sisters they left behind. I am not trying to diminish our daily struggles and pain, but most of the people to whom Paul was writing were poor, some slaves, some persecuted and few of them would have known the meaning of security in their lives.
Paul directs the Philippians to look to God in all things with thanksgiving and I hope and pray we too take Paul’s words to heart. All to often our prayers are nothing but a shopping list, things we would like but all too often selfish and without the thanksgiving. Our anxiety about the future obscures the benefits that we do have in our lives.
So here are some questions I would like you to think about (and I will do the same): Why are meditation on Scripture, prayer, and intercession so important to our life of faith? What obstacles stand in our way of taking time alone daily for meditation on Scripture, prayer, and intercession? How might “reading the Word of God as God’s Word for us,” rather than as God’s Word for someone else, lead to spiritual transformation?
Psalm 119 says in part, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:103–105
Over the coming days, reflect on your present experiences of prayer and meditation and consider ways to make more time for God. Pray for encouragement and wisdom for you, your family, and your spiritual family in reading God’s Word. Pray for discernment in understanding the needs of others and allow God to draw you nearer and nearer to His living Word.
Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship (1937) was a call to more faithful and radical obedience to Christ and a severe rebuke of comfortable Christianity. Summer is soon approaching; days of fun and comfort. But regarding our faith, let us spend this summer practicing ways to get uncomfortable.
Let Jesus light your way as we return to living as God has always intended, in a true relationship with Him.
In Jesus’ name.
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