Sunday, September 23, 2007

This is only gonna hurt... well, a lot

If any of us have the notion that the Christian life
is primarily about blessing and comfort and prosperity
and ease, then perhaps we have been sidetracked from
the process of Transformation and are running after a
false Gospel...

It's critical to come back to the reality that this process
is mostly one of pain, and of hardship, and of suffering,
which begins with Jesus Himself, "a man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53). While most of us may
not experience physical persecution, every single Christian
is called into the process of metamorphosis (Romans 12:2),
and that process is described throughout the Bible as one involving
a great deal of pain:
    Hebrews 4:12, 13
    The Gospel message rips bone from marrow, metaphorically,
    exposing our every Thought and Attitude to God... OUCH...

    Proverbs 27:17
    One man sharpens another... Ever used a steel file to
    sharpen something? Ya think the thing being sharpened
    enjoys the process? Oh man, that's gotta hurt...

    1 Corinthians 9:27
    Whether or not he actually beat himself with his own fists,
    Paul implies here that he pounded the *!@#@!* out of his
    Old Man and made it his slave, regularly... BAM...

    Luke 6:27-36
    Now the heat is REALLY getting turned up! What??? We are
    supposed to BLESS those who abuse us? We're to DO GOOD
    to those who hate us? Gosh, does that mean a selfish
    spouse? A rude, unkind Co-worker? A cynical, blasphemous
    neighbor? A sanctimonious, judgmental Believer? YEP!

    James 1:2-4,12
    We're not supposed to pray for Trials to be removed from
    us; instead, we're to -- get this -- count it a JOY to go
    through tough times! OUCH!

    Luke 9:23-26
    Here's Jesus himself saying that our day-to-day walk begins
    with a little "funeral" -- dying to self -- and then taking
    up our crosses (imagine the pain there!) to follow Him...

    Mathew 5:24
    This is perhaps the most PAINFUL one of them all! We're told
    here to STOP with the Religious stuff and GO MAKE PEACE with
    someone with whom we have some issue FIRST! Wow, now THAT
    is some major SAND PAPER for the SOUL!!! Double OUCH!!
There are, of course, many more passages in Scripture that should
present the TRUTH about the pain and agony we are called to go through
in the process of becoming sons and daughters of All Mighty God;
perhaps nobody in modern times has put it better than C.S. Lewis,
who describes it like this, in his talk, "Man or Rabbit":
    "The people who keep on asking if they can’t lead
    a decent life without Christ, don’t know what life is
    about; if they did they would know that 'a decent life'
    is mere machinery compared with the thing we men are
    really made for. Morality is indispensable: but the
    Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us
    to be gods, intends for us something in which morality
    will be swallowed up. We are to be re-made.
    All the rabbit in us is to disappear — the worried,
    conscientious, ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and
    sensual rabbit. We shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of
    fur come out; and then, surprisingly, we shall find
    underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined:
    a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant,
    wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy."
So how about it? Ready to start, or get back to, this painful Journey
sometimes known as Sanctification?? Ready for a piece o' Jesus?
He's going to hit us with more than we bargained for,
and MAN, this is gonna hurt...

But, through God's strength and relentless work in us, if we don't quit,
we WILL be glorfied, and find enternal JOY in what He
will have made of us...

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