Jesus and his main followers believe it too. “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7–8)
Jesus emphasizes letting go of what seems important in this life in order to gain real life. He asserts, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” (Mark 8:35)
Jesus values losing in order to gain. “Yes,” Jesus replies, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”” (Luke 18:29–30)
Jesus warns against illusions of gain that may seek to avoid pain. He cautions, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19–21)
Jesus’ followers and key writers, Peter, James, and Paul each praise pain for gain. Don’t seek it out but don’t avoid it when it arrives either. The pain of suffering grows us up in God’s grace and love and other lasting gains.
Peter writes, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12–14, NLT)
James tells us that suffering is cause for great joy. He writes, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be mature and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2–4, NLT)
Paul testifies with many scriptures that pain brings gain. The following one promises that suffering brings hope and love.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3–5, NLT)
Do you have spiritual, social suffering? Rejoice! Great gain will follow!
“Giv’m heaven!”—John Parker
John Parker serves with Connections Simple Church of Chowchilla meeting 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Blvd. Learn more at: www.simplechurchsuccess.com or contact John at (209) 564-7201