What? Too comfortable?
How could anyone be too comfortable? you might ask. And why would that be a bad thing?
It does sound like a contradiction, like “too rich” or “too happy.” But being too comfortable can actually be bad for us humans, especially us Christians.
How could it be bad? you ask. Well, let me explain…
I listened to a pastor today who was talking about something totally different than this topic. But, one thing he said stood out to me. He said,
“Hell is the absence of the presence of God.”
I had heard that before, but this time it got me thinking. I was sitting next to some teenagers who were looking bored and trying to sneak peaks at their phones without getting in trouble. I realized that most of us Americans are too comfortable with life to even think that the “absence of the presence of God” sounds that bad.
Pastor Gaines said, “What could be worse [than the absence of God’s presence]?” The problem is that most people nowadays don’t care. They could care less about God’s presence, unless God is in his gift-granting mode, handing out dreams-come-true.
The problem is that we do not find the presence of God to be desirable. We have forgotten how amazing and beautiful He is.
Why? Because we are too comfortable with this life on earth. Life is so easy and convenient now that we think we have no need for God. We have so much food that we throw tons away or we gorge ourselves and end up with health problems. We have so many conveniences, we barely have to do any work. We live in a culture of excess; almost every house in this country has at least one tv, a computer, and multiple cell phones. (I even saw a homeless woman on the side of the road last week checking her smartphone next to her “Hungry and Homeless” sign.)
Besides the excess, we live in a country that, although it’s not perfect, gives us more freedom than any other country on earth. We also live in a time of relative peace. (If you don’t think so, go research life in Afghanistan, North Korea, or Palestine; we have so many rights we take for granted.)
One of the biggest obstacles is that we have so many ways to escape our problems. We not only have alcohol, drugs, and anti-depression meds, we have tons of ways to zone out and not think about life. There’s cell phones, Netflix, YouTube, iTunes, magazines, video games, Snapchat…the list goes on and on.
Another distraction from God is our obsession with being busy. Life in Western culture moves so fast. We often keep ourselves as busy as possible so we don’t have to stop and think. Busyness makes us feel important and that we’re not alone.
The truth is that the presence of God tops all of these things.
Think of the most beautiful sunset you’ve seen. The prettiest flower. The most spectacular starry night. That’s what the presence of God is like.
In the book of Psalms it says:
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
Psalm 84:1-2 NIV
The writer knew that God’s presence is the most beautiful, amazing, loving place in the world.
True, if you’re not right with Him, the presence of God is a scary place. He does hate sin. He will judge us all one day. But if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are clean and forgiven. You have nothing to fear.
The presence of God is Heaven. The absence of God is Hell. Knowing this, how should we live?
Now I ask you again: Are you too comfortable?