Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Pain of Discipleship

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the one who called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore, empower, strengthen, and establish you”.    I Peter 5:10   CEB

One of the first lessons I learned about the life of discipleship as that it is a life of pain.

Too often we hear the message preached, “Accept Jesus and live an abundant life in peace and joy”.   Of course peace and joy will eventually come but not without pain and that’s where many “Christians” grow discouraged and weary.

The pain that comes in following Jesus is the pain of change.   It is the change from living naturally to living spiritually.   That means the pain comes from the ungodliness that is still left in us.  The greater the resistance to change, the greater the pain will be.

One of the reasons heaven will have “no…more pain” (Rev. 21:4) is that every ‘will’ has been brought into complete harmony with God’s will.   The tension of “wills”, which is the source of pain, will be gone.

Many Christians make themselves unhappy because they resist the pain that in itself indicates victory.   They live miserably because their natural man loves comfort and selfishness. 

Jesus came to make us victorious not comfortable.   Victory means dying to our flesh and living in the spiritual life.

The difference between a “Christian” living in selfishness and one who is triumphant is pain.

The comforting thing about the pain of discipleship is that it is a healthy pain.   It is the pain of healing and restoration.  

It builds and molds us into the man/woman God planned us to be, it develops strong character and it perfects the image of God in us.

“Turn to me, God, and have mercy on me
because I’m alone and suffering.
 My heart’s troubles keep getting bigger—
set me free from my distress!”     Psalms 25:16-17  CEB

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