It’s been a tough week of lessons about the cost of discipleship. Also, it hasn’t been a restful weekend. Sheryl was down with stomach flu, and I’ve been taking care of her. As much as I wanted to spend the weekends out of the base, enjoying nature and rest, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy to do so with Sheryl sick in bed. Maybe later on I’ll head out for some fishing, but yes, it’s been hard to surrender my desire for comforts for the sake of taking care of Sheryl.
My biggest takeaway from this week of classes is the identification of my comfort idol. Rebecca, our teacher this week, led us through a few sessions of understanding and identifying our own idols in our hearts. In the quiet time that was set aside during lessons to ask God about our idols, God showed me that I had idolised comfort, putting it above God. Pleasure has taken the priority seat, it has also dethroned God from my heart.
God showed me how I had idolised comfort. Since my army days 10 years ago, when I was bullied, I would barely survive each day, emotionally. I ran away from God. I clung tightly onto my pleasures to get me through each day. I counted down the days till I ended my service, 1 by 1. I survived at the end, but it resulted in the drilling into my heart that comfort and pleasure is critical to survival and rest. The few ways that I sought pleasure in army was unhealthy food, Korean variety shows, pornography, and masturbation. It was a daily affair, and they were like my floats, keeping me from drowning in my emotions.
I brought that mentality into my real world. I would go through every day thinking, “yes it’s ok to just give everything you have in studies, with friends, because when you head back home, you can certainly find rest and relaxation in all these things.” I also tell myself, “even for boring days that I don’t look forward, I can psycho myself to be disciplined to go through them, since I can reward myself at the end of the day with these comforts.” When I’m stressed, I automatically run to these comforts. When I met God again in University, I knew that I had to do away with such destructive patterns. I had to trust Him, and to become more like Him. It’s been an amazing journey, experiencing God’s grace over my life, yet also His love and kindness that leads me to repentance. The Lord confronted me about my self-condemnation. During my Uni days, I would condemn myself whenever I sinned, and it was a vicious cycle that perpetuated my sinful behaviour. The Lord taught me self-compassion.
Comfort is something that I find hard to surrender. Rebecca shared about the story of the sinful woman who came into the pharisee’s house to pour perfume on Jesus’ feet. The sinful woman was dazzled by Jesus’ beauty and power, and she was drawn to Him by His love. Yes, I need a fresh new revelation of God’s love every single day. I want to know Him more intimately and deeply. But I guess comfort has been a huge hurdle to this.
Lord, help me to pick up my cross daily. Help me to deny myself and to run to Jesus daily. Lord, I desire to enthrone you, and dethrone everything else, everyone else. You are my ultimate desire, my source of comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
My struggle with the comfort idol also causes me to shun ministry opportunities as well. There are many times when I would hear God asking me to talk to this person, to pray for that person, or to just build relationship with this person. Over the years, I start to be lazy and to not consistently obey His leading. I will give excuses such as “I’m so tired, God give me a break!” or “This person doesn’t seem to be open to me”. More importantly, I see myself more and more unwilling to take risks for God. Compassion fatigue from my work didn’t help either. Comfort was where I ran to when I feel challenged out of my comfort zone. Of course, over the years, God expanded my comfort zone. However, He is always nudging me to surrender more of my life to Him. This requires me to step out of my comfort zone.
I believe that the comfort idol has creeped into many areas of my heart. It has warped my understanding of comfort, and it has eroded the belief that God is my ultimate source of comfort. Lord, deconstruct my own beliefs about comfort, cause it to die, and may you help me with my unbelief. I live a new life in Jesus, and I have what it takes to enthrone Jesus in my heart. Jesus, I follow you wholeheartedly, and I’ll hate my comfort idol, every single day.