Let’s take a poll. Do you think it’s harder to follow Jesus in Las Vegas or Lynchburg? The answer may seem obvious. Of course it would be difficult to be a Christian in a city where they proclaim, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But unfortunately the answer is not that clear nor that simple.
Homeostasis is the idea that systems move towards balance and equilibrium. This is especially true in the human body. This is why we get fevers. It’s why we sweat. There are organs that have the sole responsibility to help us maintain a sort of balance internally. This is a good thing.
However, homeostasis can be the greatest enemy of our faith and Christian life. Another way to say this is that the greatest threat to our growth might very well be… comfort. Comfort is the enemy of our faith. And let’s be honest, it is extremely comfortable to be a Christian in Lynchburg. Most people either claim in words or actions to follow Jesus. And if they don’t, they at least have a base understanding of what that means, and they show respect to those who follow that path.
"Comfort is the enemy of our faith. And let’s be honest, it is extremely comfortable to be a Christian in Lynchburg."
Let me put it this way. When’s the last time there was tension and imbalance in your faith? When’s the last time you took a step of faith or placed yourself in a situation that required a level of deeper trust and dependency on God? It’s easy to be a Christian in Lynch Vegas, which might be the reason that makes it so hard. You may have to read that last sentence again.
Is it possible that that there is a smaller “Kingdom” impact in one of the most saturated Christian towns because it’s filled with so many comfortable Christians? Is the impact limited when of the number of men and women who live with a dormant faith have little required of them?
God wants us to embrace the tension and struggle. He wants us in situations that cause us to exercise our spiritual muscles. His desire is for us to be in a place that causes us to fully rely on and trust in Him. It’s at that point where God’s mighty power and strength can be magnified and clearly on display. The world NEEDS to see God’s power and strength on display in us.
Here are three things that can help you thrive as a follower of Jesus in the “Christian Capital of the Nation”:
1. Default to action and obedience.
What if you started to look and listen for opportunities that God places in your path, and you default to action? Before you questioned, you took a step forward. Yes, you will make mistakes and might end up down a dangerous path, but it’s worth it. God wants so much for us and wants to do so much through us. Often we limit this because of our lack of action and obedience.
2. Put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
This is similar to defaulting to action, but it’s more intentional. What are you doing right now that requires a deeper faith and dependency on God? Are you serving through your local church? Are you committed to a small group of believers as you spur one another to good works and authentic faith? What relationship are you pursuing because you know God might use you to lead them to Him?
3. Commit to and fight for a local church.
When there are 10 churches on every other street, it can be easier to view your church involvement as a way to meet your needs and preferences. When you get tired with one, you move on to the next. Sometimes, however, the greatest growth in your life can come from your commitment to a local body of believers through difficulty, disagreement, and disenchantment.
I am so thankful for my church and it’s constant battle against comfort. If you want to listen to two teaching series done at Brentwood that will help you move out of homeostasis and towards a vibrant faith, then check out “Awaken the Dream” and “ONE is Worth Fighting For” at brentwoodchurch.org/watch.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4, )
Photo of Lynchburg was taken by Adam + Sarah Mullins Photography. Used with permission.