Abraham left his comfort zone:
‘Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee’. ‘By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. … For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’. ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness’ (Gen 12:1, Heb 11:8,10, Rom 4:3)
Ruth left her comfort zone:
‘Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem So they two went until they came to Bethlehem’. (Ruth 1:16-19)
Peter left his comfort zone:
‘But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind wascontrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God’. (Matt 14:24-33)
Our Comfort Zone
We visited some brethren in Yorkshire in July. They gave us a photocopy of an article entitled ‘The Modern Smooth Cross’ It spoke about a new comfortable type of Christianity, pleasant, at peace with the world with an entertaining form of evangelism to go with it. It contrasted this with the True Cross, the one about which the Lord said, ‘Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ (Mark 8:34-36).
Everything around has been designed to make us comfortable. No doubt Ur was a comfortable city. I was told that in many ways it was more advanced than Babylon 1400 years later. We have become accustomed to a comfortable kind of Christianity – good meetings, good social relationships, and an ecclesiastical structure we can relate to, the church or meeting where we gather, rather than Christ, being the centre of our lives. The church, to use the modern expression, has become ‘our comfort zone’.
The True Cross separates us from the principles of the world – including the religious world It is the end of man according to the flesh, worldly, intellectual, religious, political, sectarian – whatever. But we have to leave our comfort zone to take up the cross.
Darby and others did just that when they separated from the organised church in the early part of the nineteenth century. They eschewed what was sectarian, seeing fellowship based on the one body – not a voluntary association. When two or three gathered to the Lord’s name, His presence was real and experienced, and they were greatly blessed and added to. They gathered in simplicity around the scriptures and found a Teacher in the Lord Himself and a Guide in the Holy Spirit.
Many are experiencing the same things now. They have left thier ‘comfort zone’. They meet in smallness and dependence, and pray that others they love might share thier joy.
Like Abraham, Ruth and Peter, we need to leave our ‘comfort zones’. If we do, it is a step in faith – ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]’ (Heb 11:6). Of the future, if the Lord does not come, none of us knows. We follow Jesus – ‘the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Heb 12:2) – yes, the true cross.
‘But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’. (1 Cor 2:9)
With greetings in Christ’s blessed Name
he old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather it is friendly pal, and if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference.