Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
—Luke 12:19–20 (NIV)
Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.
—2 Timothy 3:1–2, 4–5 (CSB)
There are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
—Philippians 3:18–9 (NLT)
You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
—James 5:5 (NASB)
In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
—Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
Another “weight” that makes us stumble in our Christian race is the idol of comfort, one the Bible sees as both dangerous and empty. When we worship the idol of comfort, we believe the lie that we only have worth if we attain a particular quality of life or that life only has meaning if we experience certain pleasures. Though we often disguise this false god as “wisdom,” the pursuit of comfort keeps us from doing all sorts of things God asks us to do in His Word! For example, we stock up our possessions and our savings accounts, like the man in Luke 12, so we can sit back and enjoy our bounty. Though saving can be wise according to Scripture, we are also repeatedly told to be extravagantly generous with our resources instead of piling them up only for ourselves.
Too often, Christians are generous with themselves and stingy with the church and/or the needy. In this way and many others, we can be “lovers of pleasure,” as 2 Timothy 3 tells us, instead of “lovers of God,” all while adopting a “form of godliness” that is fake. Other times we seek comfort in our “appetites,” according to Philippians 3. This can be any sort of self-indulgence or pleasure obsession. Many people choose food or alcohol to give them comfort instead of running to the Lord. Others look to sexual encounters. Entertainment is another way we choose comfort as our master, avoiding ministry to our neighbors and families because we are ever-fixed on the glowing screen in our living rooms or on our phones. Even our time can be something we hide behind to avoid uncomfortable commands from the Lord. We say we are protecting our schedule or that we’re too busy to do many of the things God tells us to do with the time He’s given us.
In all these examples, we think we are insulating ourselves from pain or discomfort, when in reality, we are worshipping the comfort instead of God. The Lord describes this life as one of “wanton pleasure” that can expect sure destruction in the end. If you find yourself constantly bowing to the god of comfort, take heart. The Lord brings you back to Himself. Not by reminding you of how mad He is, but of how much better He is than those other pleasures you seek. In Psalm 16, He reminds us that He does not want a life void of pleasure or comfort for us. Instead, He tells us where to find it—in His presence, and at His right hand, where Jesus sits (Heb. 10:12)!
Questions for Thought //
1. What does the idol of comfort look like in your life (accumulating financial security at the expense of generosity, food, alcohol, sexual encounters, entertainment, or hoarding your time)? How has the idol underdelivered on its promises to you?
2. How would your life look different if you consistently went to the Lord for comfort?