Pain? I love Pain!
Isn't it amazing that we can hurt and God hurts with us. Isn't is also amazing how painful growing is. Think about this, when in my childhood years, my legs use to ache night after night. As I became older, relationships failed and that hurt. As I learned to work, I failed and suffered the anguish of my bosses. When training as an athlete I had bruises, breaks and hurts. As I got married, I had to learn not to be so selfish which turned into me denying myself of simple pleasures (this was painful many times). When I sin, the consequences of that sin is painful. In my walk with Jesus, I go through painful lessons because I don't always listen to Him and learn a hard lesson through my bad choices.
In my latest pain, I have heard the same thing "God wants to bring me to the end of myself so that I will not rely on me but run to Him and be satisfied in Him". Do you know how hard this is for someone that thinks he is in control and wants that control? Do you understand how me not being the thing that arranges my satisfaction is painful? So much of my pleasure has been defined in myself and rooted deep. It is painful when the light of Christ is shown on those areas and I realize how foolish I have become. However, my response is not always to trust Christ in His work to remove my self reliance but to become overwhelmed at my sinfulness that I attempt to change and remove it. I am learning (slowly unfortunately) that I am not capable of changing me toward God. I am not capable of making those life long changes that Christ demands.
I am reminded that the Holiness and Righteousness of God demands perfection from me. If I can attain this perfection then I can have union with God. However, I cannot attain this because everything I do and touch is tainted with sin. Even my best works are mortified because I have sinned against God. My best works still separate me from God. So Christ's response to His demands was to fulfill those demands for me. I cannot attain perfection so He attained it for me and then imputed it to me (gave it to me like I always had it and never will lose it). Christ fulfilled His own demands.
This is where I become so foolish. Many times, I forget that Christ has fulfilled these demands and that He will continue to do this work in me. My problem is that I don't always follow His plans. Have you ever had a child try to run away from you when you were trying to put that child in a safe place. Someone usually gets hurt. Sometimes in saving my children from physical harm, I might grab tightly or might get there just after they hurt themselves. Pain is felt when they don't stay protected by me. In the same way pain is felt when I don't follow God's plan but wander off on my own. It hurts to be yanked out of harm's way. It hurts to suffer a scrap against sin. It hurts to have wounds that are deep be cleaned and the dirt be removed. Pain is evident when we don't follow God and He cleans us up. But that pain means that God loves us and is trying to direct us to His plan. He hasn't given up on us, He is leading us.
Today, I feel that pain. Actually I have been feeling that pain for quite some time because I have been so self reliant. I have never trusted God like I am right now and that is painful! But that Pain is so good and yet I hate it. I am not looking for sympathy but maybe we can learn together how to avoid our sinful pain and enjoy the gracious surgical hands of God the Spirit as He leads us! So as my Lord leads me to trust in Him and see Him work, I deal with the pain of my selfishness and look to His great love for my joy!