If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 
Matthew 10:39 (NLT)

Imagine this:
You’re on a path walking at a steady, even pace. Around you are rolling golden hills of hay and above you a clear blue sky. You can feel the sunshine warm on your face as the cool breeze whips at your hair. After a little ways, you come to a fork in the road. 

To the left – the path continues much the same. The terrain is flat and easy to travel. No surprising curves or unseen drops.  To the right – a winding path. You cannot follow every turn but gazing up and beyond, you can see beautiful mountains interrupting the skyline. 

Which way would you take?

In our hearts, we know the answer. Though, if we were to take this metaphor and apply it to our lives, how often would we find ourselves settling for what’s easy? The Bible tells us what happens when we make maintaining our comfort zones the priority. We end up losing what we were trying to save, but if we choose God’s best, trusting Him to supply the energy and strength we need to overcome difficulties, we receive so much more than what we gave up. 

Like it or not, the only way we grow is through challenge, and scripture makes a strong connection between receiving God’s blessings and pushing through when it gets hard. God promises He “will not withhold any good thing” and that spiritual “perfection” comes from enduring difficulties with patience (Psalm 84:11, James 1:4). 

Although God never makes bad things happen to us, is it possible that healthy challenge is an intentional part in God’s process of giving us good things? Like any parent knows, when the child works for the toy, he appreciates it so much more than if it’s just given to him. In the same way, God wants us to be challenged to push beyond what’s comfortable, so we can enjoy the many blessings He wants to give us.

Examine your life. Are there any areas where you’ve become stagnant? Any places in your heart where you’ve chosen what’s easy over God’s best? Ask the Lord to help you push beyond these comfort zones. Discover the blessings that come when we say “yes” to God’s challenge to grow.