My face hurts!
After seeing my doctor for my “annual” checkup that happens every couple of years, I was told to use a cream that attacks pre-cancerous cells on my face to prevent future problems. Since I have already had two surgeries to remove these nasty cells, I knew that the use of the cream was very beneficial and could prevent the need for more surgery.
I experienced this wonder cream before and despite its beneficial healing qualities, I was not eager to use it again. The memory of it was very clear in my mind because over the course of several weeks it produced very red and painful chapped skin that flaked off leaving behind “good” skin free of the pre-cancerous cells.
Purchasing the cream was the easy part – I did that in 2016. But needless to say, I kept putting off its use – it was never quite the “right” time to experience 4-6 weeks of painful and ugly facial therapy. Although I knew I should for my own well being, I just could not bring myself to go through that again. Silly – right?
As I experience this facial cleansing, I am reminded of the spiritual cleansing God has for us that we push off for a later time – a time when we don’t have to worry about what other’s think or the “fall out” we think is going to occur. It is easier to sweep those issues under the rug for cleansing at a later date or bury them totally so there is no need to address them at all.
Chipping away at our spiritual exterior can be painful. Applying spiritual disciplines can be hard to start and harder to maintain. Sometimes we know that the discipline is going to be painful so we shy away from starting – knowing it will cause pain to us or the people we love. However, in the scope of eternity, it is necessary to free us and bring us closer to God.
Listen to the Writer of Hebrews as he encourages us in Chapter 12:1-6 of The Message:
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God loves us. He wants us to be fit for service. He disciplines us to make us ready and able to work in His Kingdom. The “pain” we endure increases our faith. Without pain there is no gain. So let us endure so that we can achieve all that God has for us.