Growing Can be a Painful Thing, Both Physically and Spiritually
We all know that becoming physically healthier starts with the realization that it is something we want. Then it requires that we make some lifestyle changes. We don’t like change. Change is scary, but we’re willing to make them, to get what we want. The results are worth the pain.
The same is true of our spiritual health.
A lady was speaking with a pastor about his sermon after church one Sunday morning. She said, “Your sermon today reminded me of the peace and love of God.” The pastor was feeling good about this and asked her to expound. She replied, “Peace…because it passed all understanding and love of God…because it endured forever.” Ouch.
Another similar after church sermon story is of a man greeting the pastor and telling him that he preached powerful sermons. They were thoughtful and well researched. He said, “I can see myself in them. And I want you to knock it off because they’re hitting too close to home.”
Pastor Lee shared that Alene Miller used to tell him that she felt that he had stepped on her toes, and it hurt. It’s a good thing to have our toes stepped on. It helps us see those places that we need to work on.
In Hebrews 4:12 we’re told that God’s Word is “sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.”
Having my spirit, soul, joints, and marrow cut through sounds pretty painful to me.
We are a pretty soft bunch, aren’t we? We don’t want anything to be hard.
Pastor Zach Zehnder in Mount Dora, Florida preached the longest sermon ever (53 hours and 18 minutes). His goal was to share “God’s ridiculous commitment to His people, even though we give up on Him that He never gave up on us.” This love is evident in having Christ die for us, even though we are sinful. Romans 5:8
It is easy to think we have it all figured out. We get a picture of what we expect and get comfortable going through the motions.
This is what happened to the people following Jesus. One minute they believe He was going to save them, and the next they’re shouting for Him to be crucified.
Even his disciples became disillusioned and disappointed. In Luke 24:13-35, three days after Jesus’ crucifixion, two of His disciples were going to Emmaus when Jesus started walking with them, but they didn’t recognize Him.
They were sad, and Jesus asked them what they were talking about. Cleopas asked if He was the only person from Jerusalem that didn’t know what had happened. The disciples shared how they expected Jesus to be the one to set Israel free.
Their idea of being set free was different than God’s.
They were expecting Jesus to come in and take over the country and by following Him they would have an easy life. Surprise…
When they got to where they were going, they asked Jesus to stay with them. Then as He blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to them…immediately they recognized Him, and He was gone.
God is not dead; He is alive, and He shows Himself to those who believe.
We know that Jesus’ followers did not have an easy life. They had to work and work hard. It was painful. They could have chosen to give up and just sit around, but they didn’t. They took the pain of loss and uncertainty and got stronger. They decided to follow Jesus.
We don’t like facing our weaknesses. We would rather just stick to the status quo. The problem is that this results in the status quo. I don’t know about you, but I want more than that.