Romans 8:18 (KJV) “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Last week we discussed…

There is a human myth promulgated to the masses – “Happiness = the absence of pain!”  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Because God redeems all that He allows, pain can have a very positive effect upon each of us.  Someone said, “When we cut ourselves off from pain, we have unwittingly cut ourselves off from joy as well.”

As I experienced “life” in the “light” of Scripture, I’ve learned that Pain produces …

  1. PREPARATION

This week… As I experienced “life” in the “light” of Scripture, I’ve learned that Pain produces …

  1. PRUNING

John 15:1-2 (KJV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (Emphasis Added).

I would love to go through life with NO experience of pain whatsoever!  I truly wish I could have the possibility of experiencing joy with the complete absence of potential pain; however, as we discussed earlier, that is NOT a reality of life since the Fall of Man!

There are several Scriptures that challenge me, one of them is…

Romans 9:20-21 (KJV) “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Emphasis Added).

The reason this Scripture challenges me is every time I want to take ownership of my life amidst a moment of self-pity and self-doubt, I am reminded that God created me with a plan and a purpose.  I contributed NOTHING in my creation!  God chose to gift my parents with me, I say “gift” because ALL life is a gift from God, and He is the One Who chose my hair color, eye color, my color, etc.!  I didn’t have a vote in the process!  The only “vote” I had in the process of my life was when God convinced me of my need of the Savior!  Even then, when I voted “YES” to Jesus, God delivered me out of the hands of the Enemy and translated me into the Kingdom of His Son!  I NEVER have, and never will belong to myself!

Jesus did NOT belong to Himself, either! The Man, Christ Jesus surrendered His Will the moment He became aware of His Personhood, Position, Power, and Potential. He embraced Who He was and Whom He served! This was evident in His response to Mary…

Luke 2:48-49 (KJV) “And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Emphasis Added).

While we celebrate the veterans who willingly leave their families to defend the freedoms of our nation, liberate those who are enduring dictatorial suppression and hardship, and hazard their lives so that others may live, we must NOT minimize that Jesus left His Heavenly Home, His Seat of Authority, and humbled Himself to the level of a Servant!  In this, Jesus willingly entered a world where He would experience pain!  AND, He learned that “Pain” would be an intricate and intimate tool His Father would use to perfect His Wisdom and prepare Him for Calvary!

You see, Jesus was NOT exempt from “Pain” …

Hebrews 5:5-9 (KJV) “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Emphasis Added).

Jesus “learned” the value of pruning by the way His Father perfected His humanity.  Now, let me clarify – Jesus was, is, and always will be sinless (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22); therefore, the “perfecting” of the Man, Christ Jesus was NOT to cleanse Him, but rather to complete His human maturity and formation as the Son of Man!  His Father guided His steps and formed His human character, charisma, consecration, and consistency to equip Him to fulfill His calling as the “Lamb of God” Who would take away the sins of the world!  He had to be equipped to be the Overcomer so we could overcome!

All statements that Jesus made are impactful, however there is one that speaks to the concept of “pruning,” John 10:30 (KJV) “I and my Father are one” (Emphasis Added).  As to when the Man, Christ Jesus became fully aware of His Divinity and the fact that the “fullness of the Godhead” dwelt within Him is uncertain; however, it IS very apparent that Jesus was fully cognizant of this fact when He made this statement!

Jesus was NOT saying He and His Father are unified in purpose, plan, and passion!  He was NOT saying He was a member of the “Salvation Team!”  He was making the statement that His Hands were an extension of the Father’s and Holy Spirit’s Hands.  No one could pluck those whom His Father gave to Him out of His Hands because the Power of His Father coursed though His Hands!  Jesus was NOT just the “essence” of God – He was, is, and will be God!

Nonetheless, the Man, Christ Jesus “learned” that His Power came from being continually connected to the Source – His Father!  Thus, we better understand …

John 5:30 (KJV) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Emphasis Added).

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (KJV) “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (Emphasis Added).

As we think of the Man, Christ Jesus being “pruned” by His Father, we come to understand that He was never alone in this process – His Father was IN each moment of pain with Him!  So, it is with us as Jesus exhorts …

John 15:4 (KJV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (Emphasis Added).

As stated earlier, I would love to go through life with NO experience of pain whatsoever! BUT, it’s impossible to experience spiritual growth without an element of pain…

“Any good gardener knows that beautiful roses require careful pruning.  Pieces of a living plant have to die.  It cannot just grow wild.  We cannot simply “celebrate growth.”  It is more than to be regretted, it is tragic that we seem to have lost the insight that growth in Christ requires careful pruning.  Pieces of us by our intentional action need to die if we are to become the person that is in God’s vision.  We are not cutting away a cancerous growth, but making room for intended growth.” — Urban T. Holmes III, Spirituality for Ministry

More on this next week!