Summary: It’s a simple statement that tells us this—before you will experience the benefits of exercises you have to first experience some pain. In order to get physically fit there is a level of pain you must go through. Same with our spiritual growth.
LIFE’S HEALING CHOICES
“No pain, no gain”
If you have ever been to the gym or read anything about getting physically fit then you have probably heard this statement before:
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
It’s a simple statement that tells us this—before you will experience the benefits of exercises you have to first experience some pain. In order to get physically fit there is a level of pain you must go through. So at the beginning of the New Year many times we realize we have had too many desserts in December so we decide that in January we’re going to get in the gym. So we join; we have great intentions and then after a few weeks we stop going. There is a simple reason why that happens. It’s called pain. Our muscles get sore. We hurt. It’s not fun anymore. And whether we will admit it or not we make a decision in the back of our mind that it’s just not worth it.
Last week we started a new series of messages titled God’s healing Choices. There are 8 healing choices all of us must make in order to experience God’s healing power. The first choice is this: I call it the Reality choice. I must realize I am not God. I must admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. Today we move to the 2nd choice. Choice #2. This is the hope choice. I must earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that he has the power to help me recover. Jesus put it this way: Happy are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
Every one of us has areas in our lives that are broken. Things that bring us deep grief and deep pain. This is a truth all of us need to learn. Grief is God’s pathway to comfort. Pain is God’s cure for denial. Again, happy are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Now there is a promise right out of the OT that speaks to us and offers us a powerful message when we are hurting. This is it. “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise, instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”
Pain is God’s way of letting us know that something is seriously wrong that requires our attention. I would suspect that most of us have fire alarms in our hoses. And of course they are there for a purpose. Pain is a lot like a fire alarm. When an alarm goes off in your house I suppose you could say that you have several options.
1. Choose to ignore it. Just turn the television up louder. Then you can’t hear it anymore.
2. Take the battery out. Unplug it. Like those lights that come on in the dashboard of your car. Check engine. Engine is hot. Oil change needed. Just unplug them.
3. Locate the source of your trouble. Find out where the smoke is coming from your house. Check to see if there is water in your radiator. In other words address the problem directly.
I recommend #3. Because if you never address the source of the problem, it will never go away. I know that’s obvious but you need to let that sink in. Here’s the deal. You can unplug that warning light and continue to drive that car. You can pull the battery out of your fire alarm and stay in your house and you can deny the emotional pain you are experiencing, but you can only do it for so long. Because where there’s smoke there is fire and you can end up losing your life. Yes, it is that serious.
Let me ask you, how high is your tolerance for pain? Some say Oh it’s very high. Others say no I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to pain. It really doesn’t matter how high your tolerance is for emotional pain from your pasty—if you continue to block it out and live in denial over it, it will eventually surface.
Jesus said in this world you will have trials. We will have them but He never said to ignore them. There are several things we must do when it comes to trials. (1) Expect them. It’s not just a possibility. It’s a certainty. (2) Since you know they are coming be prepared. Ask God to give you strength. (3) Practice patience when they come. (4) Be prepared to learn something from them. When difficulties come our way, God is preparing us for something better. And these trials don’t typically work themselves out overnight.