Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Pain of Living - Martin Wiles

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NLT

Pain is your friend.

Or so I’ve been told. Perhaps I read it. Maybe a doctor told me. Probably I learned it through experience. My continuous back pain alerted me that something was wrong. When exercises didn’t help—and when the pain continued for an extended period of time—the doctor ordered an MRI. The diagnosis? Arthritis and scoliosis of the spine. The MRI didn’t make the pain go away, but at least I knew the reason for the pain.

And my aching knees. When I cannot step up on a ladder or even a footstool without stabbing pain, I know something is wrong. Although I haven’t had tests to reveal the culprit, I know they are worn out—or at least on the way to being. The years my brother, daughter, and I hiked in the mountains did it I’m sure. Nothing to do but have a knee replacement, but I’ll not do that until it’s necessary. I’ve seen the pain others have endured to “fix” the pain.

Pain often seems more like an enemy than a friend. Something I want to defeat. Something I want to go away. But deep inside, I know it’s my friend. And more than physical pain.

Paul said he had been crucified with Christ and that Christ now lived in him.

Crucifixion wasn’t anything to sneeze at. The process involved horrible elements as history notes—and as the example of Jesus illustrates. Victims normally died because of exhaustion or asphyxiation, not necessarily because of the pain of what had preceded the crucifixion or from the spikes in their hands and feet.

Jesus’ pain differed because His involved more than physical pain. He endured the pain of the world’s sin upon Himself. A price paid with a different type of pain. One that involved having His Father temporarily turn His back on Him.

When I accept what Christ has done, His pain becomes mine. I die on that cross with Him, enduring the pain of giving all of my sins to Him and letting His blood cover them. Painful because in my humanness I’d rather keep the sins … relish in them … savor them.

Once we endure the pain of letting our sins go, Christ comes to live in us and bathes us in His righteousness. For the first time—and forever—victorious living belongs to us. The pain of doing life on our own disappears. Christ lives in and through us. We possess resurrection power. The joy of living replaces the pain of living. 

Let Christ replace your pain of living with joy.

Prayer: Father, thank You for replacing the pain of living with the joy of living.

Tweetable: Is pain stealing your joy? 

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