Yes It May Hurt
by David Brenneman
"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."
Romans 8:16-17 NASB
When you look at the lives of the first Disciples turned Apostles...and how their lives were lived...suffering was a significant part of what defined their lives.
It's quite often a very difficult position to be in in terms of what Christian's today call suffering and what the Bible says is suffering. The lesson with Jonah was don't go and run from what might be the suffering we're to go through in order to point people to a life in Christ. It's going to be hard at times. We're told in advance that it's going to be. So why are so many Christian's surprised that their lives are often difficult rather than filled with health, wealth and prosperity?
Running from God doesn't work. Just check with Jonah on that.
Picking a new profession rather than what you were called to do and to be in Christ doesn't work either.
The Spirit will have His say concerning such choices and decisions.
The thing to remember is we DO have to give an account before Jesus concerning the deeds done in the body. It's not a matter of if, but of when. It's not a matter of what we will say as to why we didn't or did...Jesus will know the truth without asking. It just says in Scripture that our deeds will be tried as with fire. Some people's will go up in flames and others will have gold.
We're not promised health, wealth and prosperity. We get a lot of wrong connotations from the term 'blessings' from God. Most don't also see that death is considered a healing in God's eyes as well.
Sure you can change jobs and think that all will be right with the world because of the suffering you might have been made to endure...but in light of that accounting before Christ..will it have been the right decision?
The Prodigal Son thought that he had health, wealth and prosperity when he made that decision to go and take his Father's money and go live the life that he wanted to live...or thought he wanted to live.
Squandering it without thought to consequence. It caught up with him.
For people to see our good works and to glorify our Father in Heaven it's going to mean people seeing us go through both good things and the painful things of life.
Sometimes we also get the wrong idea of what 'life more abundant' turns out to be.
Sometimes we're just not meant to know why and instead we're to persevere regardless of what our eyes see or our ears hear. I've often recommended reading "90 Minutes in Heaven". Still do. It's a real story about a real Pastor who went through some horrific after accident surgeries. He endured the suffering because God said so not because he had the choice. But we read of what God did with his suffering. How it formed bridges to people who otherwise were unreachable.
When we cave in and run from what we're called to do in Christ Jesus...we miss out on those lives we were meant to show Jesus to. A void is left where once someone was serving as they were meant to be.
A very real danger is THINKING that it's too hard, too difficult, and we decide to change things without truly consulting God first, or maybe thinking that we are but aren't waiting on His answer. Remember the words of Jesus to those who THOUGHT they were doing things in His Name...it can also apply to those who are in Christ but have been doing things they were not meant to be doing.
ARE you doing what you were called to be doing in Christ Jesus?
ARE you trying to be a part of the body that you're not? Paul wrote about that.
IS your life a reflection of one who's pursuing obedience to Jesus?
IS your life a reflection of the character of Jesus?
ARE you at all looking to hear 'well done' from Jesus?
Look at the people Jesus encountered in the years of His ministry here on Earth. Many suffered for decades and it was for no other reason other than the works of God may be manifested in them.
We may be called to suffer for His sake because of the same.
"but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ," Ephesians 4:15 NASB.
Growing up in Christ means painful moments. Growth causes things to stretch, to expand. Often with painful signs and side effects. Roots must burrow deeper and deeper to find true sustenance, to find water.
Our lives are going to have difficulties. Many of which we are not going to understand the reason why.
To grow up as God intended, as His workmanship, will mean doing things we don't understand. Will mean dealing with unreasonable people. With people who are constantly trying to get under our skin.
Be mindful as well that our own true obedience to the word of God must be in place. Regardless of how it makes you feel, your sanctification is what He is working towards. To change your character into the character of Christ in you.
When we run from God, when we choose our own way rather than the way outlined by God, we cause others to have to be put in our place to fulfill God's plans. They will get the honor before Jesus and it will not go to us.
Living in Christ Jesus indeed may hurt, but the fruits are out of this world. The benefits are incalculable. Our desires should be becoming what Jesus desires. Our lives should be causing others to see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. It shouldn't be us glorifying ourselves so that others see us only. They shouldn't be seeing nothing but us.
Living in Christ Jesus, He says, you will likely suffer for doing so. But He also says to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. In every way that matters He's been victorious. In every way that matters in our growth in Christ Jesus He's been victorious. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
All these things will include whatever it takes to transform your life into the character of Christ in you. It includes joyful times and painful times. It includes times of understanding and times when we don't understand.
But the priority is to live a life worthy of the calling that we have in Christ Jesus. He gave His life to save us, to save you, to save me. What value do you put on that?
Just how would your life change if another human being saved you from some horrific event? How far would your appreciation go? How long would it last?
Many, just like the children of Israel, get into a cozy routine and slowly forget what makes for a successful life in Christ.
Many get hurt by other Christians and retreat. They change careers or just plain stay away from their calling in Christ.
Many will try to stand on the excuse of it hurting too much. You think being nailed to a cross didn't? You think that having a crown of thorns hammered onto your head didn't? You think being scourged didn't? A scourge is a whip with things added to the ends of each strip that would intentionally imbed into the flesh in order to rip away flesh when it's yanked back.
What He's Done...that song is a constant daily reminder. When giving up seems to be my only recourse, I remember what He's done. When my gut thinks I can't go forward because of how people treat me, I remember what He's done.
What about you? Are you trying to be a part of the body of Christ that you weren't intended to be? Are you avoiding what you know the Spirit wants you to be doing? Are you standing on excuses rather than living in obedience?
This was a heavy post to write. I often have to look at what I am doing and why. I often wonder if I am doing all that Jesus wants of me. I am heartbroken over others claiming the name of Jesus who have abandoned their call in Christ Jesus. They let people or circumstances cause them to turn away. The things of this world were sometimes more attractive to them. They seek an easier way of life to live rather than the life that the Spirit needs them to live to grow in Christ. To lead people to Jesus. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He didn't come to change the world into a better place. He didn't come, yet, to rule and reign yet. That's coming. Saving people is what He's doing. Our job as Believers is to point people to Jesus and arrange the introduction.
Even if it's an incredibly painful prospect. Even if it's uncomfortable.
Even if it hurts.
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