4 questions that check the reality of our faith (part 2)

Last time we thought about this question: Is Heaven or Earth our home?

Today we ask this question: Do we want godliness or painlessness from God?

Consider that for a moment. Which do you really want from God?  The apostle Paul said, “Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (Philippians 3:7) He then said that ,”More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of  knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” (8)  Did you catch what he valued most?  It wasn’t painlessness.  It was Christ.  He wanted to be found in Jesus.  He wanted Jesus’ righteousness to be the righteousness that he lived by.  It was worth suffering to have that righteousness.

Now, I know our next question: Can’t I have both?  Of course, then answer is no.  Consider an athlete.  No athlete can become an athlete without exertion and pain.  They have to train.  They have to stretch those muscles in new ways.  They have to work through pain to get to the next level of performance.  Why do they do it?  They do it so that they can compete.  They do it so they can stay in shape.  Now imagine someone claiming to be an athlete that doesn’t break a sweat when they exercise.  They don’t stretch their muscles.  When they are tired they skip training that day.  Are they athletes or are they couch potatoes?

I could give several more examples in work or academics or hobbies where the same principle is at work.  If we truly value something, we are willing to sacrifice and suffer for it.  This is a clear test of the reality of our faith: are we willing to suffer for it?  Do we cringe from the cross we are called to carry or do we embrace it as the call of our faith, our way of coming close to our Savior?

What is your answer?  Do you want godliness or painlessness from your Savior?

Something to think about,
Pastor John

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