I’ve sometimes struggled to understand the difference between comfort and contentment in my life.
Comfort is dangerous. Todd Henry writes, “When I aspire to comfort as the greatest goal of life, I refuse anything that might cause me pain or hardship, even if that means I have to abandon my pursuit of true north…Comfort is often the enemy of greatness.” A life built around comfort is a life that is not on mission. It is a life that settles and refuses to sacrifice for the glory of God. Whenever I get too comfortable, I stop living on mission.
But comfort is not the same thing as contentment. A life of comfort is dangerous; a life of contentment is essential. While living in anything but comfort, the apostle Paul was able to say:
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:11-12)
One of our greatest dangers is confusing comfort for contentment.
By the way, every time I start to forget this recently, I’m reminded by the first page of my workout guide:
While working out can…be safe, it should never be comfortable…By accepting the discomfort that comes with training, you give yourself the power to push your own boundaries just a little.
Be on guard against drifting into a life of comfort. At the same time, work hard to develop a life of contentment.