The saying goes, “No Pain, No Gain,” but I’m not looking for gains; I’m trying to lose a part of me that is unhealthy. “No Pain, No Loss” is the revised saying that drove me yesterday. I know it doesn’t rhyme, but it makes sense to me.
As I work out this flesh, I’m not trying to fit it into a mold or achieve an ultimate “gain” (unless that gain is a healthier version of myself), but I fight past the pain, because there is something I need to lose. I repeated the phrase, “No Pain, No Loss,” multiple times during my workout yesterday, and the more I said it, the more I was struck with how that should be my approach in my spiritual walk. In Hebrews 12:4, it says, In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. To get rid of the sin in my life, and to fight against the pull of sin, it is normal (and often, necessary) to go through pain. Sin is like a cancer, it doesn’t have to kill me, but I have to fight through the pain to claim the victory over it. I need to die to my sin – my flesh – daily, but I have no power to defeat the sinful flesh in me, only Jesus can do that and He is more than capable of winning that fight. So, sin is unlike cancer in that there is a guarantee of victory over sin through Jesus Christ.
If I feel no pain in killing the sin in my life, it is either by the grace of God, or I have not truly allowed that sin to die. Just to avoid the immediate pain, I have often let sin grow and fester, where it would have eventually reached the point of ultimate pain that is not so easily erased. The pain in striving against sin is momentary, and the fruit of that strife is a more blessed life in Christ and a more fruitful ministry in His name. The pain that comes in removing sin, just as the pain in removing excess fat, serves to remind me of the greater pain I would face if I should allow that part of my flesh to grow. If I do not work out the flesh in me, my body and soul will deteriorate, become weak, and ultimately be more susceptible to hardships in the future. Yes, Jesus has saved me by removing the eternal punishment of my sin, but there are still temporal punishments for my sin. So, I ultimately do not compete against any other human being by working out this flesh; I compete against the flesh within me. I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
I work to gain an incorruptible crown,1 so focusing on this momentary affliction to the point of defeat is not even an option.2 It is true that gains cannot be made without pain, but gains also cannot be made without loss. I think that step in between is ignored or shoved to the side far too often. Everyone suffers loss, and loss often makes no sense, but loss does not have to leave us forever empty; gains can be made through loss. Perhaps when I first started following Christ, I thought this journey would be easy. I mean, come on, I had used my “Get out of Hell Free Card!” But I was a child then. Now, I know that Jesus said, These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) Amen! I say, “Amen,” because the statement in its entirety is true: in Christ, I have peace; in the world, I will have tribulation; and Jesus has overcome the world.
As I worked out and repeated the phrase, “No Pain, No Loss,” I realized that I need to say that in my spiritual walk. The momentary pain I face does not feel so momentary, but I need to be reminded that it is working for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.2 Daily, I need to proclaim Truth to myself, just so that I have the strength, courage, and will to fight.
No Pain, No Loss. No Loss, No Cross. No Cross, No Gain.
This is a short list of verses that God brings to my heart when I am in the midst of trials and temptations, and I hope God can write them upon your heart, that they also would encourage you:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
Bodily exercise profits little, but godliness is profitable to all things; having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26
- 1 Corinthians 9:25
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
If you have questions for me, topics you want me to write about, or you just want to chat, then send me an email or post a message on any of my pages.