Something Better

I've written before about how important it is for the Christian to not give into a comfort-seeking lifestyle: see, for example, here and here.  But it's a word I feel I keep needing to hear and speak.  For those of us well-educated, upper-middle-class parents of young children, it can seem that everywhere we turn we are actively pursuing (or passively giving into) comfort: building up a nest egg for a comfortable retirement, settling into a life of ease and entertainment, and grooming our children to have the same kind of good life.

Maybe this is the rational approach to life for the non-believer, but for the follower of Jesus, we have been subsumed into a fundamentally different life trajectory.  In writing about this, I'm challenging myself and others to say no to comfort-seeking and to say yes to something better.

What has been missing from my writings, and from my internal musings, is the "something better."  I get that comfort sources abound around us, and that we need to be vigilant to not give into them.  What I haven't spent nearly as much time on, in my own musings and in my writings, is what the "something better" is that is worth saving ourselves for. 

This post, at the Desiring God blog, does a good job of reminding me of what the "something better" is.  The reason we don't want to dwell too richly on the things of this world is so that we can dwell more richly on God, whether through the study of His word or just time spent in His presence.  The Christian life shouldn't be defined ultimately by ascetism, because our aim isn't to withhold from pleasure but rather to withhold from lesser pleasures in order that we might revel in greater ones.

Let us remember this when we are faced with comforts all around us, to be mindful not only to not settle into them but to know why we are not settling for them.  When we choose to move into a dangerous neighborhood instead of cocooning in comfortable enclaves, to give recklessly to those in need instead of building up our own nest egg, and to cross cultures even at risk of feeling like an outcast, we do so not for its own sake, but to take part in something greater and better.  Let's not forget what - and who - is greater and better.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." - the apostle Paul to the church in Colossae (chapter 3, verse 16)

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