What if the biggest challenge to a life of holiness is simply comfort?
In 1 John 5 the Apostle says that the greatest testimony we have to offer the world about the lordship of Christ is for us to experience eternal life right now. The proof of Jesus being God and being king can be found in transformed lives that point to eternity. What a beautiful idea that is! We can experience Christ as Lord in such a profound way that people can see reflections of eternal glory in us today. John doesn’t use the words holiness or sanctification at all in this passage but this is a profound message about holiness. The end result of becoming more like Christ should indeed be that eternity is visible in us now.
Reflecting on that idea, of showing the world that Jesus truly is Lord, a disturbing thought popped up. If Jesus is Lord, if I truly want the world to see and know that, then I have to actually demonstrate that with my life. That means that Jesus must be Lord over every part of my life. I must show the world that Jesus is Lord over my finances, my body, my mind, my marriage, my calling, my relationships, my passions, my sexuality, every part of who I am. If Jesus is Lord of my life then my life is going to look radically different than the lives of those around me for whom Jesus is something very different.
Perhaps the greatest challenge to a life with Jesus as Lord over everything is simply comfort. For North American Christians this may in fact be the biggest hindrance we face in regards to God’s work to reshape us into his own image. When we are lords over our own lives through good jobs, adequate health care, safety, entertainment, leisure, freedom and self direction, then what need is there for Jesus to be Lord? Do I need a God of abundance when I have a 401K? Do I need God my healer when I have a hospital three minutes away? Do I need to be part of the Mission of God when I have chosen my own path for life?
Without risk there is no holiness. Without relying on God we will never look like Jesus. Without surrender of our plans, bodies, finances, relationships, and wills we cannot live like Jesus. Jesus, even though he is God, lived in obedience and submission to the Father. Everything Jesus did was a risk. He came to earth and was born as an infant to unwed peasants. He challenged the religious and military authorities around him. He risked suffering violence, being a social outcast, and even his own life for the sake of obedience.
If we live our lives free from risk, comfortable and safe, how will we ever be made like Jesus? Our comfortable lives do very little to testify to eternity. Instead they are a testament to humanity and modernity. The first confession we may need to make is to confess our love of comfort and our self reliance. Once we surrender those things then God can begin to remake us into the image of Jesus. But so long as we are lord of our lives we are not living testaments to Jesus as Lord.