Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 12, 2022
Seeking comforts of the flesh is backward thinking

I open my eyes to a room shrouded in darkness, and fear engulfs me. I’m in a safe place, my room, but all I can feel is danger. Feelings of absolute terror grip me. Was it a bad dream? Maybe but I don’t remember. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. All I know is that I’m afraid. 

I hide under the blanket, trying to find a sense of security, but it doesn’t come. I am completely exposed and vulnerable; nothing I do subsides the darkness pressing in on me. I have to run, but the fear is paralyzing. 

“Get up!” I scream at myself, but then I think if I get up, something will get me. It’s the only chance I have. If I’m fast enough, maybe I’ll be okay. I summon all of the courage I can muster, and I make my move. I throw off the covers and run out of my room and down the hall to my parent’s bedroom. My heart was pounding, but I made it to safety. 

“Mom!” I call out with tears filling my eyes and my voice shaky. 

“What’s wrong?” She responds with shock and tiredness, all mixed as she’s pulled out of deep sleep. 

“I’m scared.” She gets out of bed, picks me up, and takes me into the spare room that we converted into a TV room. She sits down on the rocking chair and begins to pray over me. Finally, a sense of comfort. I’m safe. After praying for me, she rocks me while she sings “Amazing Grace,” and my heart is filled with peace again. I can sleep. 

It’s one thing to be a young kid afraid of the dark or the creepy old farmhouse you live in, but what about when you are an adult and don’t have your parents there to comfort you? It’s no longer the thought of something living in your closet that frightens you but the thought of failing, not being able to pay the bills, or just having to go to work at a job you hate. 

In a nation that is all about the “pursuit of happiness,” most people live daily in some anxiety or depression. We wake up in a safe place only to be surrounded by darkness pressing in on us, a feeling of vulnerability that we can’t escape. How could we? Everywhere we turn, we are told that we are not good enough. Forget trying to keep up with the latest smartphone. Every time I turn on the radio, I learn that if I buy a better brand of bed sheets, I could finally get a good night’s sleep. Even my bedsheets aren’t good enough! Much less my education or financial situation. 

Or maybe someone you cared about just stopped talking to you with no explanation, or a disagreement with a family member or coworker has reached a boiling point. Whatever the means, the end is often the same, a lack of peace. Romans 8:6-8 says this: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” 

We have become so focused on the comfort of our own flesh that it is a complete shock to our system whenever we have to face something hard. As a result, our faith in Christ is shaken, and we are often angry with God or others. Why? Because life was not all rainbows and puppies. For many, their faith in Christ is just another layer of comfort. It’s not real faith. It’s more of a practice in self-interest. They think “I will put my faith in God if God makes me comfortable.” We think, “if I put my faith in God, then my family will love each other, and we won’t have any debt.” It becomes a contradiction; our “faith” in God is all about us; this is backward thinking. When we put our faith in someone else, our hope and trust are in them. It’s no longer about what makes me happy it’s about what makes Him happy. 

The truth is that we can’t please God and not ever do anything hard. Like I can’t please my wife without ever doing the dishes. As a result, we are robbed of peace because we don’t understand what it means to have real peace. It’s not the absence of hardship or fears; it’s about having the courage to throw off the blankets of self-interest and run to the Father when we are broken and afraid. We have to stop thinking about all the ways we can make our flesh happy and start thinking about all of the ways we can make Jesus happy. 

Hard things don’t go away, and sometimes they get harder. I have to forgive someone who hurt me, and I have to pray for those who persecute me. I have to give up some things the culture says will make me happy. When I set my mind on the Spirit of Christ, I may lose some worldly comforts, but my soul finds comfort in the arms of amazing grace.

Trevor Rickard is an Associate Pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship.

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