THE MERCIFUL SIGNPOSTS OF PAIN
When you feel pain, let the pain be a signpost that says to you, “Make Jesus your primary reward.”
Now we will still have pain, even if Jesus is your primary reward. A whole separate department of pain in our life is because He’s not our primary reward; our blessing is our primary reward. The money isn’t coming in the way they said they would give it to us; we’re mad. The money is bigger to us than encountering the Lord. The honors they promised, they’re not giving us the honor they said they would give when we all signed the paper. Your honor is bigger than your encounter with the Lord; your promises are bigger than your intimacy, in terms of your focus. That will burn you out and bruise you for sure.
People live that way; millions live that way in the Body of Christ. They have a strong argument for why everyone treated them wrongly. At the end of the day, people couldn’t get to them unless their hearts were focused on the secondary things as their primary thing in life.
People cannot touch me nearly so easily if my heart isn’t into the thing they’re touching. My heart isn’t focused on it— no one does this perfectly —meaning, even when I’m focused on the Lord in a right way, I have times where my secondary focuses become primary.
The pain comes. I say, “Oh, yes, I did it again. I did the thing I tell them not to do. I did it again.” So even the pain is a gift of God to realign us. “Brandon, it was never about how many people and money and honor; it was about you and Me.”
“Oh, that’s right.”
“You’re hurting over the people, the money, the honor, the things working right. That’s not what it’s about; it’s about you and Me.”
“Oh, I forgot. I know I taught that last night, but I forgot. Thank You!” I get realigned. It’s not like the pain goes away instantly, but it’s far more manageable in the grace of God when our focus is right. The pain is an actual gift of God.
“SHOCK ME NOW, DON’T SHOCK ME THEN”
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, when God evaluates our lives, we only have the truth of what we actually did.
The Lord is using pain so that we do things right now, instead of then. I tell the Lord— “Lord, shock me now, don’t shock me then.” I say, “Tell me now if I’m not aligned right. Don’t wait until I stand before You and then say, ‘Oh, Brandon, by the way… those years on the earth, you weren’t aligned right with Me.”
“You’re kidding! All the time I thought I was.”
“Yeah, I tried to tell you. All the time, you weren’t listening. You listened to what everyone else said about how awesome you were. You didn’t listen to your critics, you only listened to your cheerleaders. The truth is, you weren’t aligned right.”
“Oh, no! Can I have another chance?”
“No, it’s over, Brandon.” I don’t want to be shocked then; I want Him to shock me now. If He has to wake me up with pain, I want to be woken up now. Now I can make decisions that matter for that day. I’m not telling people that if you live with Jesus as your primary reward, there won’t be pain. There will still be pain in your life, and there will still be disappointments, but they’re significantly more manageable. You have a different perspective; you have a greater sense of connectedness with God that is more important to you than the money and the honor and feeling good and things going right.
Scriptures to ponder and pray-read
Jesus remembers our human weakness in His evaluation.
14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. (Ps. 103:14)
38 He being full of compassion…39 For He remembered that they were but flesh… (Ps. 78:38)
God pays us so well for all that we do. He even remembers the movements of our heart toward Him along with every small act of love.
42 Whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. (Mt. 10:42)
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints… (Heb. 6:10)
16 Those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. (Mal. 3:16)
5 The Lord…will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God. (1 Cor. 4:5)
God judges according to three things: our deeds, motives and speech. Scripture most emphasizes our deeds. Our motives are more than fleeting thoughts but are the sustained thoughts we live by.
12 My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. (Rev. 22:12) 23 I am He who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your works. (Rev. 2:23)
6 He…will render to each one according to his deeds… 16 In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ… (Rom. 2:6, 16)
5 The Lord comes who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels (Lit. motives) of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God. (1 Cor. 4:5)
36 Every idle word men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (Mt. 12:36)
The Lord will evaluate what we do both good and bad.
10 We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10)
According to what we do good: our smallest and seemingly insignificant deeds are rewarded.