Many of us find it quite difficult and frightening to step outside of our comfort zones. Comfort zones are...well, comfortable! They're safe and secure and require little risk. Sometimes it's OK to stay inside our comfort zone, so we can rest, heal, and enjoy the comforts in our lives. Other times, God may ask us to step away from what feels safe, secure, and comfortable. The apostles were always stepping out of their comfort zones, consistently in danger of being tortured, arrested, and even killed. Yet they continued to be bold and obey God, trusting in Him to grow the spiritual seeds they had planted (Acts 4).
Jesus told His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). This means that we express a willingness to lose everything if asked—wealth, family, possessions, our very lives... While there's no guarantee that we will lose any or all those things, we are asked to be willing to lose them if it's God's will. When we follow Jesus, we "die to self" and are given a new and greater life in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 6:4).
The first time we step out of our comfort zones spiritually is when we first choose to trust Christ for our salvation. Our sinful nature conflicts with any decision to live the way Jesus lived (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23). He chose to put others before Himself. He showed kindness to those society looked down upon. He forgave those who beat and tortured Him. All of these actions tend to go against humanity's self-preserving nature.
Our sinful nature can even cause us to believe we need to earn our salvation or save ourselves by doing "good deeds" or being a "good Christian," but salvation comes to us by God's grace alone, as we put our faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). There’s nothing we could do to ever earn salvation—nor anything we can do to make God love us less. Those who have accepted the gift of eternal forgiveness from God have already stepped out of their comfort zone.
Don't worry—not everything we do for Jesus will make us feel uncomfortable. We aren't meant to be in a constant state of distress. Having a willingness to step out of our comfort zones can help us to be ready when God calls for us to do so though. We may even find that we enjoy getting away from our normal routines sometimes.
One way to prepare ourselves for the really big challenges is to challenge ourselves in small ways whenever we can. Maybe it's giving over control of choosing the movie or game over to a younger sibling. Maybe it's knocking on your neighbor's door to see if they need any help with yard work. Maybe it's volunteering at a shelter or another non-profit organization. Maybe it's helping with children's programs at the library. Maybe it's having a conversation about Christ with a friend.
Stepping out of the comfort zone will look different for each person. Think about the things that are reachable and achievable with some effort, and you may find quite a few possibilities! Ask Jesus to help you be brave and step outside of your comfort zone so you can make an impact for Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). Whether you are stepping out in a big way or a small way, God sees it, and He is proud of you.
Jesus promised His disciples a reward for following Him: "...the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done" (Matthew 16:27). Believers are rewarded eternally for their faithfulness to Jesus, for they are no longer condemned for their sins against God (Romans 8:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 2:14). Believers are rewarded for their faithfulness to God's wisdom by having healthier relationships, improved mental health, material provision in times of need, and more (Psalm 1:1-4).
Let's say stepping out of your comfort zone is talking to the new kid at school—even though you'd feel more comfortable with your own group. What's the reward? You may gain a new friend or at least helped someone to not feel so alone. Maybe stepping out of your comfort zone means talking to an atheist friend about Jesus—even though it can be kind of scary to talk about uncomfortable topics. What's the reward? You may gain some insight into why your friend doesn't believe in God, which can help you understand them better.
Yes, moving out of your comfort zone can be nerve-wracking, and every step you take away from your comfy space will strengthen your faith with every struggling step. Be brave. Be bold. Be the words and actions of Jesus by the way you live your life (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Comfort zones are easy and require little risk. Sometimes it's OK to stay in our comfort zone to rest, heal, and enjoy the comforts God has gifted us. Other times, God may ask us to step away from what feels safe, secure, and comfortable. When we follow Jesus, we "die to self" and are given a new and greater life in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 6:4). We are called to make hard decisions every day about following Jesus (Matthew 16:24). Humanity tends toward the comfortable, yet God asks us to do what doesn't always come naturally (Romans 3:10-18). Every step you take away from your comfy space will strengthen your faith with every struggling step. Be brave. Be bold. Be the words and actions of Jesus by the way you live your life (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.