It seems to me that these are hard words for 21st century Americans. They don't mesh very well with the idea of "The American Dream." But these words are perspective-bringing words of truth...
God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn't want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.
God wants you to develop the kind of character described in the beatitudes of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit, Paul's great chapter on love, and Peter's list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life. Every time you forget that character is one of God's purposes for your life, you will become frustrated by your circumstances. You'll wonder, "Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?" One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It's what enables us to grow. Remember, earth not heaven!
Many Christians misinterpret Jesus' promise of the "abundant life" to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of your dreams, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer. In a word, they expect the Christian life to be easy. They expect heaven on earth.
This self-absorbed perspective treats God as a genie who simply exists to serve you in your selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment. But God is not your servant, and if you fall for the idea that life is supposed to be easy, either you will become severely disillusioned or you will live in denial of reality.
Never forget that life is not about you! You exist for God's purposes, not vice versa. Why would God provide "heaven on earth" when he's planned the real thing for you in eternity? God gives us our time on earth to build and strengthen our character for heaven.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, p. 173
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