The Siren of Comfort
In Greek mythology, "sirens" were beautiful creatures (I think naked women) who called to sailors from shore, luring them towards cliffs and rocks. As the myth goes, sailors would then head towards the rocks and wreck their ship.
There is a siren worse than rocks. This siren is not a naked woman and its sting is much worse than a shipwreck.
The siren is comfort. Or ease. As far as I can tell, there is very little room in the life of a Christian for comfort and ease. Enjoyment, yes. Rest, for sure. But comfort - I don't see it.
C.S. Lewis brilliantly summed up this danger in The Screwtape Letters:
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
In this book, Screwtape is the devil and he is coaching a young demon on how to tempt and destroy men. I think Lewis had a good grasp on a poisonous inclination of our hearts - towards comfort.
I'll define comfort this way: a prolonged condition of pleasure, absent of risk of reputation or danger to our physical selves. Pleasure or exhilaration during a worthy battle is a good thing I think, with bullets smacking around you and dust flying in your eyes. We are truly alive in that type of situation as we are fighting for something that matters.
If we sit on the couch and decry that life is meaningless, we are pathetic. The life of a follower of Jesus is tiring and dangerous, not air-conditioned and satiated.
I'm not saying this from the perspective of a guy who sold everything and gave his shirt to a homeless guy. Like you (probably), I am a comfortable coward too. But Jesus compels us to action, and by God's grace, He tends to force us into discomfort or even danger.
The siren of comfort cannot out-lure the Lion of Heaven.
Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr