One thing that has struck me of late is the danger of becoming comfortable as a Christian and as a church. There is always that temptation when we achieve a goal to kick back and relax with that feeling that we've arrived. It is something that looks very different to the all out desire and continuous passion for more of Christ that permeates the pages of the Bible.
For us as a church and me as the pastor the danger at the moment comes in this disguise. The last few months have been a time when we have known something of the blessings of God. There is a unity in the church and a sense of his presence with us when we meet together. People are coming, the building is full, God is speaking through the preaching and the worship is genuinely enthusiastic. Nobody wants to miss a Sunday. Good things, yes, yet the tempatation is to look at the situation and think something like this; "This is great, I could live with this for the next few years. Thank you God for giving me all of this. I'm happy and content with this. Now it's time to kick back and enjoy it." The problem, I've slipped into 'comfortable' mode.
However, this situation is not the only one where we face this tempatation to become comfortable with the place where God has brought us without an appetite for more of Jesus. What about those times when in the struggle God has brought us closer to him. The struggle goes and with it a hunger for more of Jesus. We settle down where we are or slip back to where we were. How about when our turn comes around to hand on a specific responsibility in the church, or even to retire from an office or position. Is it not easy to say, "I've done my bit, it's time now for me to sit back and relax."
I've found the attitude and example of Paul as he writes to the church in Phillipi to be a challenge to my heart. In his letter he shares his heart with the church. His great desire is to know Christ, no matter what that entails (Philippians 3:10-11) and he actively pursues God's purposes for him in his life (3:12-14). These passionate words are a challenge to my soul and they take on even more gravity when I remember who is writing them. This is the same man who had a vision where he was caught up to the third heaven and saw indescribable things (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). He's the same man who travelled around most of the Roman world preaching the gospel of Jesus, seeing people saved, planting churches, performing miracles in the power of God, being delivered by God from difficult situations. If anyone knew Jesus and if anyone had 'done their bit' you would probably say this man was it. Yet, after all that, the desire is still there to press on and take hold of everything that God has for him in Jesus Christ.
Does it matter? Yes, on so many different levels, but perhaps most significantly because there is no such thing as standing still with Jesus. Think of a Space Shuttle launch. The thrusters ignite and the shuttle and engines shoot off into the sky. While the thrusters are lit everything is fine, but what would happen if they stopped working 1000m above the ground. The shuttle would slow to a stop and then start falling to the ground. The same is true as you follow Jesus. If your desire is not for him driving you upwards, it will be for something else pulling you downwards. Beware the danger of becoming comfortable.