We all experience pain all our lives, but how we deal with it is determined by how we view ourselves. If you view yourself as the devil views you pain will destroy you, but if you view yourself the way God views you, you will convert pain into power. Anybody who has accomplished anything worthwhile has had to push through hard times. Nothing good that lasts comes easily.
Introducing today's message, Pastor Miles posed two questions:
What is pain?
Pain is something happening that you don't like. This could be physical, emotional, mental, stress, depression, hard work, loss, sorrow, etc.
Who are you?
How you answer this question has everything to do with how you handle pain in your life.
If you see yourself as a victim, you will always look for opportunities to be victimized. The devil has got you trained. The devil doesn't even need to tell you anymore, because you already deeply believe it. You have accepted that you are a powerless failure, and you will be preoccupied by living to avoid these things. As a victim, you will never do as God asks you to because you are focused on the wrong thing.
But if you see yourself as God does, a conqueror, a saint, forgiven, a victor, and powerful in Him, you will look at challenges and pain very differently. You will accept painful challenges for how they teach and change you, and you prepared to deal with anything that comes your way.
1. As God's children, pain produces righteousness in our lives. Hebrews 12:1; Hebrews 12:11
If God is your Father, you should view pain as a means of purification. You know that God loves you. He will never let you be tempted by more than you can bear and He will never let anything filter through His hands that will destroy you.
As a child of God, you must live under His grace, not under the circumstances that come your way. He will teach you things in your pain if you allow Him. Instead of asking God, "Why?", ask Him, "What do You want me to learn from this?"
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
2. As conquerors, we can be confident that nothing can snatch us from God's hand. Romans 8:32-39
If you are a conqueror, then nothing can separate you from God. In the end, you win and you are with God! You know that all of the promises God has made to you will come true.
Have you ever learned something profound from your pain? When it was happening, you probably hated it, but now you can see the benefit it had in your life. With the perspective of a conqueror, you can say, "I am learning and God is strengthening me," even in the midst of your pain.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
3. As God's beloved, we share in Christ's glory when we suffer. 1 Peter 4:12-14
Don't thing it an odd thing that you, a Christian, is experiencing problems. The devil works to thwart God's plans here on earth, so those who are obedient to God are directly in his way and a threat to him.
You will experience pain and suffering, just as Christ did. But remember, God has your back! Even if the very worst happens and you die, you are the victor by going to heaven.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13
4. As a saint, you are comforted so you can comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
You will experience pain, but God will comfort you. Don't throw that comfort away - give it away! You will come across other people in your life need that comfort, and having come through as a conqueror, you will be able to encourage another person by sharing what you have learned and how God worked and revealed Himself to you through your suffering.
The Father comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4