Most of us tend to be lazy. We wish to bypass the narrow paths and picking up our cross. We’d prefer to avoid the rough and tumble of life. We rationalize not doing the hard work–whether at the gym or in completing a tedious project at work or even mending a difficult relationship. Security and control are much more comfortable pursuits. Yet, the idea of stirring up (or “provoking”) one another and keeping one another accountable is a key part of Jesus’ assignment for us. Accountability in both Christ’s body and His Spirit requires His understanding of who we are in Him, which moves us well beyond our own self-understanding. We are commanded to be in the world, but not of the world. To live a remote, retired, secluded life is contrary to spirituality as Jesus teaches it.
The test of our spirituality comes when we face injustice, ingratitude and conflict–all of which have the tendency to make us withdraw and become spiritual sluggards. At times we even spiritualize our responses and use prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of escape–finding the wide, easy and safe path. We utilize God for our personal comfort. We see His peace and joy, but we do not want to know Jesus and His sufferings. We only want our enjoyment of Him.
The danger of spiritual laziness and avoiding tough issues is that we do not wish to be stirred up at all. If we remain in our comfort zone we will miss significant opportunities to know Christ more deeply and also to be pruned into his likeness. Consider today how He may wish you to not only be provoked out of your own comfort zone but also to risk provoking others, to love and good deeds – in Jesus.
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.