“Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.”
‘Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. ‘
As you can see from the title today, we are spending some time this week riding the “pain train.” If you haven’t gotten on board yet, don’t worry there are plenty of seats left before it leaves the station. We had talked some about how pain is a good thing in Tuesday’s God Gold but I just couldn’t help but continue speaking on this subject because God has really laid it on my heart in challenges personally and what I hope will be challenges for you!
As you can see, I added a quote in today from one of the all-time great basketball players to ever play the game; Kobe Bryant. If you haven’t already heard, Kobe and one of his four daughters passed earlier this week so it’s a tough time for basketball fans and people all across the globe. I do ask that you would keep his family in your prayers in this time and moving forward because they have lost their father and one of their daughter in this tragic accident. Please take some time to pray for the Bryant family and another reason that led me to adding in one of his quotes is just the impact Kobe had on my life. He was one of the all time great basketball players but he was more than that. He was dedicated to bringing out the best in others on and off the court, and one of those guys that so many lessons can be taken from his life in how he handled himself, how he worked with extreme dedication on his craft to be the best he could be and how he went about his business in general.
One thing he mentions here is how pain doesn’t tell you to stop but it comes as a little voice in your head, bringing with it resistance of all sorts telling you to give up and give in. I know this voice all too well and as we discussed the other day, when we run this race God has set before us, we are going to experience pain, trials, obstacles and many moments of suffering! So when we get to actually running the race, and we feel, see and realize how hard this race really is, everything in us yells for us to give up, to simply stop. So we know pain is coming, what do we do when it arrives at our doorstep?
That is a question I have struggled with my whole life like most of us has. We are living in a world and culture that tells us pain is bad, and we should do everything we can to avoid pain and suffering at all costs. In result of that worldly thinking, that is why we have become “comfy Christians.” Instead of embracing pain like Jesus did as he endured the cross, embracing the pain for our salvation, we would rather waste our lives away sitting comfortably in church pews, doing just enough where we will still feel good about ourselves but not enough to get near any sort of pain. It hurts that I’ve lived this way and it hurts to think so many followers of Christ embrace pain in this same scared mindset everyday.
But our comfy, pain-free living in no way matches up with the truth of how this life with Christ is supposed to be; our main goal in this life of following Christ is undergoing a process daily of being transformed more into His image, and following Him in this ministry He has left for us, learning from His example and the ultimate goal is to live lives of impact for God’s Kingdom bringing salvation to the lives God places around us.
So as we see here in verse 3 of Hebrews 12, the writer places this verse here to remind us of the pain and suffering Christ went through because when we run this race God has set before us, we are going to face pain and suffering. So let’s hop off the comfy train that leads us to sitting on the sidelines of this race and wasting our lives chasing our comfort over God’s eternal glory. And let’s step onto the pain train, the train that Christ Himself traveled on. You see what’s hard about embracing the pain and hopping on the pain train is when we feel the pain and suffering that comes in this race, our mind and body says give up!! We begin hearing our mind saying, “just give up, this isn’t worth it and this isn’t working.”
But when we THINK about what Christ has went through we see the truth that puts all those lies to rest. To become more and more like Christ, we are going to have to face a much smaller dose of what Jesus faced, pain. It’s necessary in this race if we are going to run it in the way God has called us to, why? Because the truth is, as much as everything in this world and everything in our head tells us to avoid the pain, the pain is what moves us forward in this race. The pain Christ endured resulted in salvation for me and you, and Jesus has called us to endure the pain with Him, and guess what? This same pain produces the same result, SALVATION!!! As Kobe said, that little voice in our head tries everything to hold us back from embracing pain because it knows if we continue, we will CHANGE!!! Change may be uncomfortable and not fun at times but that’s what this Christian life is all about, leaving ourselves and our old ways behind and being transformed more into the image of Christ! This is the kind of change that saves us from our old sinful selves, this is the kind of change that overflows from our lives into others, where God uses the pain for His Kingdom’s gain as others are saved also when they see the truth being lived out before them!
This is why verse 3 is so crucial as we run the race God has set before us, when we feel like giving up we can look to Jesus’ example and see that;
When it feels like this isn’t working and this isn’t worth it, remember the truth that verse 3 brings to us, of what Jesus went through as He experienced pain and suffering all for the result of salvation!!! Remember this so YOU WON’T GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP!!!!