There’s a scene in the book of Acts in which the Apostle Paul was in prison yet the Roman ruler Felix and his wife would send for him to hear what he had do say. After a while, they found it “inconvenient” so they put him off.
Acts 24:24–25 (KJV) — 24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
We all find good things we could or should be doing yet we put if off because it’s not convenient. In other words, we get trapped in a lifestyle of convenience and miss out on the best of life.
Convenient is anything that adds to one’s ease and comfort. In our day, it’s easy to get imprisoned in a lifestyle of comfort and ease. Consider all the things we own that are promoted to do just that, make our lives more comfortable and easier.
Have you ever thought of the good things in life you have neglected or ignored because they were not convenient? People avoid eating things good for them and take up fast food because it’s more convenient. Many with the best intentions to exercise regularly find it difficult because it’s just not convenient. Spiritual disciplines like reading God’s word, prayer, and fellowship with God’s people are likewise abandoned for the sake of convenience.
Well, what did you expect? Anything that is worthwhile is costly and the first cost is our convenience. Have you ever seen a successful athlete who trained solely out of suitability? Have you ever known an effective person in any field who did not sacrifice comfort for the goal? No wonder God has condemning words to His people for living a life of ease and comfort and no wonder Jesus described a life of following Him as a life of sacrifice of personal ease and comfort.
Amos 6:1a (ESV) — 1a “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
Luke 9:23–24 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
It’s been well said that God is more interested in conforming our character to that of the Lord Jesus Christ than He is our comfort and ease. Not that He does not comfort His people, but that comfort is a blessing to those who live a life of inconveniencing their own comfort and ease as they seek to be more in conformity to the will of God.
Romans 8:29 (ESV) — 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
How do you make decisions that count as far as your daily activities and your living up to the commitments you have made in life? Do your choices demonstrate your focus on comfort and ease or does your commitment to Christ and His church overcome convenience? The word of God demands that of us.
Colossians 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:23–24 (ESV) — 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Next time you hear of things happening where you should have been there but weren’t, ask yourself “am I stuck in the trap of convenience?” There’s only one way out and that is to admit, repent, and seek the grace of God to overcome the sin of making ease and comfort an idol.
God has commanded that we take one day in seven to rest and renew ourselves in the Lord. He has designed us to push ourselves and then to find and enjoy rest without falling into the trap of ease and comfort.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.