Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Does Your Pain Feel Like A Death Sentence? Good!


I know - shocking, right?

What in the world does that mean?

How can the pain that I am experiencing
[to the point of feeling like I'm dying]
be good?

You may be thinking this is crazy talk! 




Easter Sunday my Pastor dropped a bombshell in his sermon on Galatians when he said:

"He came to kill you and then to raise you to newness of life. Jesus came to kill you."

He went on to ask: 

"Have you heard that from many pulpits today? That's so mean."

Then he added:

"He didn't come to make you better. He came to kill you. And then to raise you up so you are something completely different than what you were before."

He reminded us again that Jesus did not come to effect a moral reformation but a mortal resurrection!

If you are a Christian, you probably get the whole dying to live concept. You've been taught and the Bible speaks plainly about Christ's death and resurrection. You understand that Jesus' death brought life - that he was raised by the power of God and in his death believers are made new, live eternally with him forever and find newness of life on earth. You probably realize that Christ's death was necessary for your salvation, that when you die you will be with Jesus eternally. 

But, how is dying necessary for life...while you're living?

In writing to the Corinthian church the apostle Paul makes a shocking statement. In speaking about his own suffering for the sake of Christ he writes about the purpose of pain and suffering and anything else that feels like death:

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 

 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:9


Paul declares to the world and for eternity that although he felt like he was dying he knew that God 1)had a purpose for it all, 2)would raise him up again, and 3)would deliver him from death.

Dying to live. That's what Paul is talking about. The very death he felt was for the purpose of stripping away any self reliance he had. God rescued Paul from all of his misery in the midst of his misery by setting his sights on Jesus - his hope and deliverer. In essence - God killed Paul, raised him to newness of life and delivered him from himself. That's freedom. The ongoing work of Jesus is to set people free. The freedom and newness of life I experienced in my salvation is the same freedom and newness of life I experience each time God kills me, resurrects me and delivers me. Every hard place in my life is God's crucifixion of my idols, his resurrection power for my new life free from my idols and my renewed hope in the One who delivers - Jesus.

Like Paul, I I have felt at times that I had received the sentence of death. It felt like my very heart would burst and my soul had nothing left in it. It felt like I was alone and afflicted on every side. But God knows that the one condition for a resurrection is death. His very purpose for my pain was to put to death my self reliance. To put an end to my dependence on my own schemes and plans. God was planning my resurrection. He alone would raise me up to newness again, delivering me once more from the peril of death! 




We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life ~Romans 6:4

4 comments:

  1. Great post! My physical pain and emotional has left me very dependent upon God to get through some days. I often wonder if it is the purposeful thorn in my side...

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  2. BelovedBomber - I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles! But, we can be sure of who God is and his purpose in the midst of trials. May your heart be cheered and encouraged by what Christ has accomplished on your behalf! Blessings friend...

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  3. Each week I feel that more of "me" is dying, yielding to His Magnificent Spirit. He is faithful, each death is leading to new life. His life flowing through me.

    Thanks for sharing, my friend. :)

    Hugs,
    Tammy

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  4. Lori, wonderful post! I so appreciate your transparency in each of your writings. Blessings!

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