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The Hundred-Sixty-First (Comfortable)

How comfortable are you? When you hear that question, what comes to mind? Are you thinking about your physical condition? If so, are you thinking about specifically right now, or just generally day to day? If not, are you thinking about monetarily right now, or day to day? Or are you thinking about socially, day to day?

Whatever came to mind, there's various ways you can interpret that question, but the level of comfort the world tells you you should have is different than what scripture, namely Yeshua, says you should have, regardless of how you interpret the question. That's what we're going to look at this week. We hear, and maybe even talk about, how we're going to face persecution for our faith. While there are those going through that now, around the world, and we may experience that in the future if we're not currently, that doesn't mean we should expect to experience day to day comfortability as the world describes it. It definitely doesn't mean how we're living today is how we're expected to actually live as far as comfortability is concerned.

Now, that may be a little confusing, so let's put it a different way. The world tells us we are supposed to have certain things in order to consider ourselves "comfortable." Money in the bank, food in the fridge, a bed to sleep in, high speed internet, streaming services, a cell phone. Some would consider all these things required in order to be considered comfortable.

How much of these types of things actually become our modern-day idols, though? And are they preventing us from having a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior? Or, is our attachment to these types of things, and having them to be "comfortable," keeping us from being able to help "the least of these" (Matthew 25:45)?

It's not just about where we're spending our money, either. Our time, arguably even more important than our money due to the fact that we can't get more of it, is a huge factor in being "comfortable." Most would agree that those that are able to spend more time doing things they love are more comfortable than those that aren't. This is something the world and scripture are actually more aligned on. The misalignment comes in what things people should be loving to do.

Yeshua tried to get the idea of the Kingdom of Heaven standard of comfort across to the twelve disciples and other followers, and we still struggle with it today. He traveled from city to city, town to town, with only what He could carry, not even knowing where He would sleep many times (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58). Yet one of the only times we see Him display some semblance of anxiety is when it came to His disciples and what would happen to them after His crucifixion (John 17). And even then, it wasn't that He was anxious about it, He was just asking for YHWH's protection of them after He is killed.

Isn't that really what it comes down to when you think about it? Being comfortable is really the opposite of being anxious, and the whole reason some people do the things they do with their money, time and effort is because at some level they are anxious, or worried, about what might happen if they don't. If they don't make enough money, they might run out of it. If they don't spend enough time doing work now, they won't be able to have enough time to do what they love later. If they don't put all their energy into figuring out how they can set themselves up to survive later, they'll struggle and waste energy in the future trying to survive.

Yeshua, when talking to His disciples, had a tendency to put things in perspective (and He still does, I might add!). One such example is pointing out how YHWH cares for His creation (Luke 12:6). In the world, the typical standard of value is determined by how much a thing costs. Man decided long ago to assign some value to certain things found in the earth with which to determine the value of the rest of the things on the earth. Yeshua pointed out that even the things man places little to no value in, sparrows, flowers and grass (Luke 12:27-28), YHWH takes care of, and based on that we shouldn't worry about whether or not we will be taken care of.

This pre-supposes that we truly believe we are being taken care of by YHWH. And that is the crux of the whole topic of comfort. One of the evil one's most successful campaigns is getting man to believe the only way we survive and have the things we do (all the way from the utensils we eat with to the house we live in) can only be based on our own hard work. The campaign is so successful, Christians created a saying: "God helps those who help themselves." No. YHWH helps those who need help and have faith in Him.

The disciples and Paul tried to pass on this concept of Heavenly Kingdom Comfort as well. Peter said to cast our anxiety/worry on Him (1 Peter 5:7). But that's not even possible if we don't truly believe He is taking care of us to begin with. James said don't make plans for tomorrow because you have no idea if you'll even be able to fulfill them (James 4:13-15). Paul said if you present your requests to YHWH, His peace that passes all understanding will be with you (Philippians 4:6-7).

A synonym for the word understanding, in terms of the context in that verse, is perception. So, in other words, YHWH will give you a comfort that goes beyond any perception of your situation. According to the world, everyone else's perception, it may seem like if you have nothing you are supposed to be anxious and worried about where your next meal will come from, or where you're going to sleep at night, yet with His peace you are comfortable. You're called to spread the gospel in one of what the world calls the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world, yet you are not worried despite the fact that you are taking no worldly protection with you. The world tells you you are especially susceptible to a deadly disease or virus that is rampant right now, but you are at peace going about your day to day life from place to place.

Even the Christians of Paul's time warned him he shouldn't go certain places for fear that something might happen to him (Acts 21:4, 11-15). And things did happen to him! Yet He was still comfortable, as his faith that YHWH would take care of him surpassed what the world told him he should worry about. And yes, that comfort even goes beyond this life in the faith that even if we pass from this world, and our current, temporary tabernacle, He will restore us to life. In fact, this may be considered the culmination of Heavenly Kingdom Comfort, when your level of comfort is so high that you are at peace even in what the world would consider dire, or grave (meaning deadly), circumstances.

While we may encounter those situations, most likely they will be rare and our day to day comfort is what will dominate our lives. Yeshua even warned about those focusing on getting ahead so they can take it easy, or be comfortable, later on (Luke 12:16-19). So, ask yourself, is your comfortability really dependent on extra cash being in your account, or whether you spend an extra hour at work, or if you work really hard to set yourself up for the future? Or is it dependent on whether or not YHWH will provide you what you need, and you believe in that, and you can give that money to those in need, spend that time spreading the gospel or keeping your family in Christ?

This is not a one time question to ask ourselves either, because the evil one and his worldly agenda will inevitably creep back into our lives and thought processes. So, as you go through this week, and into the future, continue to evaluate how you are defining and assessing your comfort level, and make sure it's at Yeshua's Heavenly Kingdom Comfort level!

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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