I remember like it was yesterday, the first prayer service in our new church plant in 2006. It was a Sunday morning and a handful of people were huddled up in a circle holding hands and praying. Then in walked Francis, an eccentric young man, with long hair and a scruffy beard. This young man was the type of person I used to avoid. He would carry on conversations way too long and had a way of insulting you with a smile on his face. But this day, my heart changed towards him. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Will you leave the 99 to go after the 1?”
Immediately I thought of the parable of the lost sheep that Jesus told in response to being criticized by “religious leaders” for eating with “sinners”. I answered the Lord, “Yes I will”. Little did I know my positive response would be the hardest decision I would ever make. I had made a life-long commitment to going after the one.
Fast forward the story ten years later and the Lord asked me to again leave my comfort zone to begin a new work. This time I seemed to struggle even more with answering yes. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize many of us struggle with leaving our comfort zones even if we know it is the right thing to do.
Today I want to implore you to take the road less traveled and step out of your comfort zone. You will find freedom in following Gods’ true path for your life. Hopefully this truth will help you break the chains that keep so many bound, and it will set you free to go after the lost, the way God commissioned us to do.
Four reasons we need to break out of our Comfort Zones today:
The Comfort Zone will limit your maturity as a Christian.
“Comfort is the enemy of Progress” – P.T. Barnum
When you are in your comfort zone it is normal to feel safe and secure. However, what we don’t realize is we are often stuck, immature, and not growing. We fear change so we stay in our safe communities of the 99 all the while ignoring the call to go and make disciples. True Christian maturity is obeying God even when it is not comfortable. You will never truly mature in your faith until you break out of your comfort zone and follow the call of God on your life.
The Comfort Zone keeps you dependent on man’s opinion.
Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
When we find our comfort in being part of the “crowd” instead of in our personal relationship with God we can fall into man-pleasing. Man-pleasing causes us to do things against our convictions in order to please people. If you find yourself always worried about what other people think about you then it will be very difficult to obey God in the hard things. Comfort is not a bad thing in itself. It is bad when we get our comfort apart from Christ. We should never become so comfortable that we lose our conviction to reach out to others who are far from Christ because we are afraid of what people might think of us.
The Comfort Zone will cause you to blend in and hide out.
It is easy to blend in or hide in a crowd. Some people go to “large/established” churches for the sole purpose of hiding in the crowd. Jesus didn’t call us to just gather. He called us to obey the Great Commission, which starts with going! We cannot go if we are hiding. Many people find themselves hiding in their baggage like Saul did (1 Sam 10:2). Saul was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the first king of Israel, but because he never overcame his insecurity, he failed to walk in his purpose. Are you hiding in any of your past baggage? Does insecurity hold you back from fulfilling the call of God on your life? If so, it’s time to step out of hiding and do what you were created to do.
The Comfort Zone creates an atmosphere for apathy.
In the crowd, it is normal to become apathetic. It is easy to be indifferent. It is all too simple to fall into complacency. Why apply yourself when you can sit back and watch others do it? Too many people in our modern churches fall into the “Bystander Effect”. The term bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the numbers of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. See friends, many Christians grow apathetic because they buy into the false notion it is not their job to reach out to the one lost sheep.
The best way to leave the false comfort, man-pleasing, hiding and apathy behind you is to simply step out in obedience. Make an effort this week to “Make One” – one new friend, one new contact, one person to encourage. Exercise your faith and practice what you believe. It’s time to break out of our comfort zones and share Jesus with others. No more excuses. Start Today!