Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Men's Fraternity Week 20

Men’s Fraternity
Week #20 Comfort


John 4:31-35
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

I. Deep Idol of Comfort

  • There is a hidden, yet sudden power in comfort!
  1. Comfort Idol yearns for privacy, making no demands and will only do for others if it brings stability or relieves stress.

    1. Selfishly introspective.
    2. Constantly noncommittal.
    3. Abhors anything impinging upon personl freedom.

  2. Greatest nightmare for those who worship comfort is spontaneity and demands.

II. Comfort Idol’s Traps

  1. The Fear of Responsibility.

    • Man hides from obligation, believing that real happiness is found apart from responsibility.

    2 Thessalonians 3:11
    For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busy bodies.

    [If we’re idle we begin to meddle, talking about how things could have been done better]

  2. Trap of Consumption

    • Preoccupation with consumption is a diversion, but it’s not a solution to the stressful messes around us.

    • Proverbs 25:27-28
      It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. A man without self control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

      Deuteronomy 31:20
      For when I brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.

    • If your “go-to” when times get hard and stressful is to consume, there’s a great chance that what is driving you is a deep comfort idol.

  3. Trap of Escapes

    • Rather than deal with the harshness of life or feel the pain that is part of life we create an alternate reality of escapes.

    2 Peter 2:20
    For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

    • The real pleasure in life comes not in the pursuit of pleasure but in the fulfillment of responsibility.
    • Deep happiness and satisfaction is NOT actually found in pursuing freedom and escape, but it is actually found in the middle of walking with God in the midst of uncomfortable, challenging times.
    • ”Sin is what you do when you are not fully satisfied in God.” - John Piper

III. Replacing the Idol of COMFORT

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you

  • ”Humble” - having a teachable spirit and attitude. That is our part!
  • ”Proper time He may exalt you” - God will lift us up in His proper time. That’s God’s part!
  • Cast anxious moments on Him - Run to God, not to your temporary comforts. That is our part!

1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober-minded: be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

  • Sober-minded…watchful – We must be on high-alert against an enemy who is seeking to gain access to our lives.
  • Adversary - the devil functions like a prosecuting attorney in our mind bringing up our failures and messes creating fear.
  • Devour - means to drink or lick, the enemy wants to create fear in us so that we turn into a mess of liquid emotions.
  • Resist him - Stand! Keep your focus on Christ!
  • Brotherhood - the suffering you face, others are facing too! Best have each other’s back!

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

  • Suffering a little while - resilience in the midst of difficulty only lasts a little while. At the moment it feels like forever but compared to eternity it is a little while.
  • God’s Grace is sufficient - God is the ________ of all spiritual comfort and help for every ________.
  • Restore, confirm, strengthen, establish - That is God’s complete work in our lives.

If we are not fulfilled and secure in God, we will inevitably seek other sources of happiness and security.

Which traps are you most prone to find yourself in during stressful or difficult times: Fear of responsibility, trap of consumption, trap of escapism?

Sometimes we seek the idol of comfort because we lack overarching purpose in life or because of the pain of adversity. Do you agree? How have you seen this in your life?

In what sense can pleasure and comfort be an idol?

What is your “Comfort zone” that you struggle getting out of?

In Psalms 16:7-11, what is the Psalmist’s attitude towards pleasure?

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