Spiritual Discomfort is a Gift

Sitting in church this week was not a 100% feel-good experience. Spiritual discomfort galore. Frankly, I couldn’t be more grateful. Don’t get me wrong. Parts of it felt great. The sweet presence of Jesus visited our fellowship. Wonderful worship filled the room. Seeing people and greeting them with a smile on a Sunday morning is always a pleasure. All good stuff.

However, when our pastor took to the platform with a message from Luke 19 about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, things got deep and uncomfortable for me. There’s often a focus on the palm branches laid out on the road. Today, my pastor spoke about the cloaks people threw down on the ground and placed on the donkey’s back for Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into the city. The point of the message centered on the cloaks, or outer garments, of the worshippers. The deeper significance of these overlooked objects became clear as he preached.

He spoke about the three “cloaks” we must lay down if we are to truly enter into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Jesus. They are the “cloaks” of comfort, recognition, and yesterday. The message pointed out that when we cover ourselves in feeling comfortable, recognition/status, and what’s over and past, we maintain a barrier between ourselves and the Lord.

As he spoke, I felt convicted in my spirit about some of my “cloaks,” which I choose to wrap myself tightly in rather than laying them at the feet of Jesus. Even after leaving the service, questions turned over in my mind about how I need to truly peel off the outer garments that keep me from fully baring my heart and soul to the God who loves me.

  • How often have I sought spiritual comfort instead of doing the hard soul work needed to grow in Christ?
  • When do I gather recognition and praise for myself but fail to point it back to God, who enables me to do all things?
  • Why do I return to my former failings or successes instead of focusing on the present moment and what God has in store for me?

Some weeks are like that in church. They get me spiritually squirming, but in a good way that drives me to the foot of the cross and the end of myself. I appreciate moments like this that help me examine myself and consider how I can grow in faith. Spiritual discomfort is a gift. Thank God for a church where I am not always comfortable.

It may be an unpopular sentiment, but I believe if you are sitting in a church where you always feel perfectly comfortable, you are in the wrong church, or you aren’t honest with yourself about your Christian journey. A convicting word is a gift, especially when spoken in love with encouragement by a pastor, friend, or another brother or sister in Christ.

Today’s message about taking off the outer layer and laying it at the feet of Jesus was not lost on me. It gave me pause to consider how, in this holiest of weeks, I can lean in. How can I be honest with myself and with God about my poor attitudes, actions, and thoughts? Where can I strip away the outward appearances and feel-good, go-to crutches that keep me from a deeper walk with Him?

Pray with me, friend.

Lord Jesus, as I enter Holy Week, help me to see myself as I really am. Allow me to feel discomfort that helps me examine myself. Help me see You for who You really are. Help me listen for the voice of truth and love and mercy that speaks over my life. Let me know You better and be more like You each day. Amen.

Have a blessed and reflective Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

With Love and Gratitude,

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