Summary: Sometimes the things that are the most painfull are the best for you.
BUILDING A BETTER YOU
Seeing as how we’re four days into the new year, I assume that, like me, you’ve already broken the majority of your New Years Resolutions.
Do I have a witness?
It’s like, why do I try? I know me.
But isn’t it strange the dichotomy that exists inside of us. On the one hand we have this overwhelming desire to better ourselves. “I’m gonna quit this.” “I’m gonna stop that.” I’m gonna do more of this.” “I’m gonna do less of that.” And yet our very nature always opposes us.
The puritans called this spiritual bankruptcy. (Expound)
This is a realization that we need desperately to get a hold of in the day and age that you and I live in. Because until we come to grips with the fact that we can do nothing on our own we’ll never see how great our need for God truly is!
Luke 1:37 tells us,
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
You need to let that sink in for a minute. Make it your motto for the coming year. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
And I’ll be the first to admit that, although this sounds wonderful, it’s a lot easier said than done. Because, although God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His ways are always right… His methods for achieving the impossible are not always the most pleasant.
Sometimes God’s plan for that miraculous change leads right through the valley of the shadow of death.
And the truth that I want to look at with you for the next few moments is this… some of the things that are the hardest or the most painful in life are the best for us.
(Dave Davis’ sure-fire, anti-cold elixir / tasted nasty / worked)
(Uncle Bob’s cat / polyp / skinning knife / wiped on pants / cut onions)
Sometimes the most painful things are the best for us.
TEXT: 1 Peter 4:12 & 13
(This from a man that learned some hard lessons) (Expound)
We have a natural tendency to seek out that which makes us the most comfortable. And when we find it we cling to it. And it literally takes an act of God many times to get us to let go of it. We like comfort. We like easy. We like monumental blessing and miniscule sacrifice.
That’s why our spiritual lives are marked with not only ups and downs but with long plateaus as well. Because when we reach a place where we’re comfortable and things are going good, we hesitate to step out and roll the dice for fear we’ll upset the balance. (Expound)
That’s why when we go through trials we’re quick to start rebuking the devil and begging God for deliverance. (Expound)
And that’s not always wrong, but you need to leave room in your theology for the possibility that God is orchestrating your hardship to work something in you. To build you up in your most holy faith. To transform you into the image of His Son.
Just a guess.
(baby bird kicked out of the nest / traumatic / flies)
Now there are arguably any number of subjects we could discuss on this topic. There’s no way we can hit them all in one sermon. But I want to look at three specific benefits that hardship in the life of a Christian brings. The first of which is patience.
How many know that’s sorely lacking today. Even in the church. Sometimes especially in the church, because we know that we serve a God who longs above all else to bless our lives.
But we live in a fast-food society. Where you can get a burger, fries and a large Coke and be on our way in under a minute.
We have our express lanes. Our 24-hour grocery stores. 60 minute film processing. 20 second infomercials.
We want it all and we want it now!! Not next year. Not next week. Not even tomorrow. Now!!
And we need to be careful, because many times we bring that mindset into the kingdom with us. And God’s not operating on your timeline. He’s not going to consult you. He’s not going to ask your opinion. Because frankly, He doesn’t give a rip what you think about it. It’s His way or the highway. Not because He’s a big brute. Because, just between you and I, He’s the only one of us that knows what he’s doing.
It’s His will. His plan. His destiny. And His timing. And He’s more than willing to through you to the wolves and let them chew that into your theology.
God is never early. He’s never late. He’s always right on time. His time.
(Mary & Martha) (4 days too late? No, right on time.)