Some ancient believers whipped themselves, thinking it drew them closer to God.(1)
Many modern Christians believe the opposite - that God promises an easy life.
God doesn't encourage unnecessary suffering, but neither does He promise comfort(2) and ease.
The question we should ask is whether we're willing to inconvenience ourselves for the Lord when He asks (Matthew 16:24-26).
It may be as simple as speaking up for a Biblical value in our workplace or as difficult as moving to a foreign country to share the Gospel.
God doesn't call everyone to live in a jungle hut, but He calls all of us to obey and follow Him, no matter the cost, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.
If comfort is our goal, we'll be generous with ourselves (in time, effort, and money) and stingy toward God (Luke 12:13-21). We'll think of ourselves and overlook the needs and suffering of others (Philippians 2:3-5).
Let's ask God if we've missed something important. Are there ways we've refused to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of the Gospel?
(1) Apparently there are still some people who practice what is called Self-mortification
(2) God gives us comfort in our sorrows and trials. The comfort discussed in this devotion is the "comfortable life" - doing only what we want, not inconveniencing ourselves, having all the material comforts.