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Wed Dec 11, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
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by Adam Ramsey
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Tue Dec 10, 2013
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
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Mon Dec 09, 2013
by Cam Huxford IV
Because he first served us
Sat Dec 07, 2013
by Kimm Crandall
As I write this blog, my body aches from the effects of training at a fight club with men who are much younger than I am. One of my toes is sprained, I think I broke my thumb, I have bruises on my face (which my wife is not fond of), and I tore a chunk of flesh completely off my big toe. None of these are injuries that would keep me from training, but they are very inconvenient and annoying! I made a comment about my aches and pains to one of the professional fighters after practice and he had a very interesting response. It was a bit unexpected, but it made me think. He said:
“There is an easy way to end your suffering: just stop training.”
As he walked away, he threw in, “See ya next Monday!” He knew that I am not about to stop because my goal is not to be pain-free. My goal is to be in shape and improving as a competitor. But his comments have caused me to think about suffering, so I want to share with you some training principles about suffering that you can apply to your life as a follower of Christ.
Two Kinds of Pain
Any competitive athlete will endure a certain amount of pain that is necessary. The pain they experience will fall into two categories. The first is good pain that tells them their body is responding to the training. It hurts, but they realize it is helping them to improve. The second is stupid, unnecessary pain. There are some people who endure needless pain due to stupidity. One extreme example of this is a guy who refused to tap during a submission while training. The result was that he suffered a very serious injury that kept him from fighting. The point is that some pain is the result of our stupidity, while other pain is the “good pain” of pushing yourself to get better. The stupid pain causes you to lose ground in your training, while the “good pain” results in you getting stronger and better.
The goal is not to be pain-free; the goal is to get better, and that requires the good pain.
Folly Inhibits Progress
This same principle applies to the Christian life, and it is critical that we understand it correctly. In Scripture we often see the stupid acts that lead to needless pain and suffering classified as folly. Paul addresses this when he writes, “But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also” (2 Tim. 3:9 NASB). What jumps out of this passage is that folly inhibits progress, and it is obvious to all! So before we talk about the “good pain,” we have to ask ourselves if our current suffering is the result of our own folly. Think and pray about it, and if needed, repent, so that you can start suffering with Christ and making progress!