Years ago, I met a young man named Jimmy. He was probably the most negative person I had ever met. Very few people could even tolerate being around him, including my wife.
Whenever he would stop by the house, she would have to leave or go into another room. But it was through my relationship with Jimmy that God taught me one of the greatest lessons of my life.
Before I tell you more about Jimmy, I must first tell you about God’s calling on my life to be a minister over thirty years ago, and how uncomfortable it made me feel.
There were times when my nerves were so out of control that my knees would shake, causing my pants to move. I would hide behind pulpits, hoping the crowd wouldn’t see. I remember asking God, “Why did you call me to ministry?” It just didn’t come naturally.
In this chapter, we will discuss the uncomfortable things in life that we all face. My reasoning for addressing this issue is this: If we’re ever going to improve ourselves, we have to go through degrees of discomfort.
Discomfort is actually beneficial to our growth as believers. If we are unwilling to face the uncomfortable experiences in life, how are we ever going to grow and mature in our walk with God?
Let me ask you: What do you do when you’re in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable? Most of us run for the hills, right? We do whatever it takes to remove ourselves from anything or anyone that causes us discomfort. Our nature is automatically opposed to discomfort. We avoid it at all cost.
Did you know that forty percent of eagles die during their first flight? Imagine yourself as an eagle. You’re safely in your nest, and one of your friends decides to fly for the first time, only to discover that the attempt was unsuccessful. How would that make you feel? Horrible, right? Life is not much different. It teaches us that if we’re ever going to leave the nest (i.e. grow, improve, mature), we have to make decisions to overcome our fears and embrace the uncomfortable moments.
Just the fact that you’re reading this book proves that you have an interest in growth and improvement. Keep in mind that there is no improvement in your walk with the Lord without experiencing discomfort.
As followers of Jesus, we must learn to embrace the uncomfortable things in life. We must realize that when it comes to growing spiritually, the feelings associated with discomfort are not the enemy. They are necessary if we are ever going to mature.
As a minister of the gospel, I am faced with a dilemma: God has given me a gift to teach the words of Jesus and help others grow spiritually, but if my teachings don’t spur people to grow, then I have failed.
My purpose in life is to help God’s people mature. It’s a wonderful purpose and I would not change it for the world. But the truth is that as a teacher speaking the words of Jesus, I am going to make others feel uncomfortable.
Throughout the Bible, it’s evident that Jesus made people uncomfortable, too, and He continues to do so today. We all agree that the scriptures say God is a God of comfort, yet there are moments throughout Jesus’ ministry when His words caused others to feel uncomfortable—including his own disciples.
3 Examples of Jesus Making Others Uncomfortable
1) One day Jesus said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan.” How do you think that would make you feel? I don’t think you’d be jumping for joy after hearing Jesus speak to you that way. On the contrary! His words would cause you to feel great discomfort.
2) When Jesus came to the temple and discovered the people buying and selling merchandise, he took a whip, turned over their tables, and called them all a “den of thieves”. This kind of reaction was out of character for Jesus. His followers knew He was a very kind and compassionate man. But that day, they saw a different side of Him. What He did caused everyone to feel very uncomfortable.
3) As Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, they began to ask Him questions, and His response was, “You’re a bunch of snakes.” How many of you can agree that those words were very difficult to hear?
We can all be thankful for what Jesus did for us and enjoy the comfort that God has given to His people. But we must also understand that if all we do is live in comfort day after day, we won’t grow spiritually. The only
way we can improve is by facing (rather than running from) uncomfortable situations.
Today, there are well-known voices in the body of Christ that speak only about the comforting things of God. Yes, we need to hear about God’s comfort, but too often such messages produce what I call “comfort junkies”.
If we ever want to grow spiritually, we must allow God to teach us things that cause us to be uncomfortable. John 6:53-66 says:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’ He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.’ From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
Biblical examples such as this prove that when we are faced with the uncomfortable, we will leave. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can learn to stand and embrace the discomfort. This is true in my life. There are times when Jesus
speaks words of comfort and times when He says things that cause me to run and hide. To this day, I am learning to embrace the uncomfortable and allow His words to bring change and improvement to my life.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 – “Jimmy” in his book “The Main Thing” by Rick Tidwell
We will continue this chapter in an upcoming blog “Jimmy” part 2.
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