The Gain Is Worth The Pain
I went to the dentist last week. Dentists are some of the most unpopular folks around. Whenever polls are taken about least favorite things to do, “going to the dentist” always ranks near the top of the list. It’s really not fair. The dentist does not cause problems with one’s teeth. He or she is the one who fixes problems with our teeth. Just think in what awful shape we would be if we had no dentists to help us when we need it! Unfortunately some of the dentist’s solutions to our teeth problems involve pain and discomfort. That is why people do not like to go to the dentist. But, to the credit of the dental profession, the benefits usually far outweigh the temporary pain and discomfort.
A similar reaction is often seen with regard to Christian faith. Practically everyone wants to go to Heaven yet relatively few people are willing to live the life of faithful obedience that God prescribes in order to get there. Most people are unwilling to exercise the self-discipline and the self-denial to follow the ways of God rather than following the ways of the world. They think that the Christian life is too demanding, too difficult, and too painful. Let’s be honest. It is not always easy to be a faithful Christian! It sometimes involves challenges and suffering as seen in the following Scriptures.
- Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
- Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trialsof various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
- Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
The truths of suffering, self-discipline, and self-denial are ideas that are not popular in the minds of modern day Americans. Many people think that Christian faith is supposed to be joyful, uplifting, and fulfilling. It definitely is but these blessings have to be understood spiritually, not according to the concepts of man. Remember the words of Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”