Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Our comfort zone should be an occasional acquaintance but not a way of life.
Too much time in the comfort zone makes a person weak, soft, spoiled, lethargic, entitled, and inhibits his personal growth.
Most 21st century Americans are all of those things … weak, soft, spoiled, lethargic, entitled, and inhibited in personal growth. Their comfort zone has become a way of life and, over time, has crippled them.
An Average Day
The average American's day starts out with a hot shower. Remember that the water heater is a relatively recent invention. Mankind functioned for thousands of years before on-demand hot water. After a nice hot shower, the man goes to work where he sits in an ergonomically correct chair inside a temperature controlled room. His artificial environment is designed to make him comfortable. Additionally, he is probably represented by employee advocacy groups that advocate for his comfort. When the workday is over the man stops by a grocery store where the clerk asks, “Did you find everything OK?” What the clerk means is, “Was your shopping experience comfortable?” And, by the way, what was the man shopping for? Comfort food. Later that night, the man drifts into sleep on a thick mattress and surrounded by several pillows. He covers himself with a blanket that’s also known as a “comforter.”
If comfort is your goal, it’s a great time to be an American citizen.
The Bible proclaims not only that humans have a natural propensity toward the comfort zone, but also that it can too easily become a way of life. Ephesians 5:28-29, for example, explains that men love to be comfortable. Naturally, men nourish and cherish their own flesh. The desire to be comfortable is an instinct. However, just because the impulse for comfort is natural doesn’t mean it’s spiritually healthy.
Dangers of the Comfort Zone
When our comfort zone becomes a way of life, we are in danger of abdicating our responsibilities. There are times when we should speak but we don’t because it’s uncomfortable. We should speak to give the gospel, but we stay quiet because quiet is more comfortable. Men should lead their wives and families with their words, but they stay quiet because quiet is comfortable. We should all lead people under our care with our words, but we stay quiet because that’s more comfortable.
Benefits of Being Uncomfortable
The pain of being forced out of our comfort zone has huge benefits. The Bible teaches the value of being uncomfortable. Romans 5:3-4 explains that “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” “Tribulation” equals pain but is also that which brings “patience.” The "experience” that patience cultivates equals character. The fruit produced by experience is biblical “hope," or confidence.
To summarize, pain teaches patience which cultivates our character, which develops our confidence. We need to be believers who are patient, have Christ-like character, and have fearless confidence; but those qualities only come through pain.
Modern comforts are a blessing, but they’re also dangerous. Again, they can make us weak, soft, lethargic, entitled, and stunt our growth. Understanding those dangers, we must remember to schedule some pain into our lives. Each day, we must deliberately plan our pain.
An Uncomfortable Day
Schedule ways to push yourself. Decide to include activities in your day that enable you to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Consider starting your day with a cold shower. Schedule things into your day that make you sweat.
Learning to get comfortable with the uncomfortable is why I run. Running makes me taste the pain. When I want to stop, the challenge of endurance sports makes me keep pushing; keep hammering; keep tasting that pain until every bit of the pre-determined distance has been traveled. Exercise is medicine with huge benefits, but it requires you to leave your comfort zone.
We need patience. We need our character to be cultivated. We need confidence. So we need to plan the pain. Plan to get out of your comfort zone regularly.
Physically, push yourself. Become better.
Socially, engage with people regularly even though it’s uncomfortable at times.
Intellectually, grow your mind. Incorporate daily disciplines through which you discerningly allow others to speak truth into your life.
Spiritually, give the gospel boldly and study the Word consistently.
As I said at the beginning, our comfort zone should be an occasional acquaintance, not a way of life. When you strike the proper balance of comfort and hardship, instead of being weak, soft, entitled, and stunted, you will be strong, disciplined, secure, and confident.
Embracing the uncomfortable will certainly help you personally, but more importantly it will benefit and inspire the people around you. Being too comfortable has been the cause of death for many men. BEWARE of being too comfortable.
The above article was written by James C. Johnson and he is the Pastor of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.