“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 (KJV)
Back in 2001, I injured my left knee in what I considered to be an anomaly. As I was attempting to warm up and loosen my left leg, I awkwardly kicked my leg straight out, which in turn, produced a popping sound from my knee. Needless to say, my meniscus was mad and made news that day. If any of you have ever experienced any injury that required evaluation from a specialist, you know that the specialist routinely performs a pain assessment. The specialist will ask you to assign a value to your level of pain on a scale of one to ten with a value of one being low and ten being high as an indicator of severity of injury. Sometimes our judgment of the level of pain we are experiencing is either over-estimated or underestimated. Oftentimes I submit that our judgment is linked to our opinion regarding expected results. For instance, an athlete that has just suffered a knee injury may underestimate his or her injury in order to maintain their participation in the sport. On the other hand, an athlete may overestimate the injury to get a reprieve or remove themselves from participation because of poor performance.
In the economy of God, we are to be consistent with God’s purposes in the parking lot of pain or on the streets of suffering. Oftentimes when we are physically or mentally suffering we capitulate to the cries of our carnality and compromise our convictions. We are clouded with confusion. In this week’s text, Peter offers us a tool to help cut through the carnality so that we can catapult ourselves to victory. This Scripture encourages us to identify with the sufferings of Christ in order to arm or weaponize our minds and hearts when we hurt. The suffering that Christ endured was, in part, because of the righteous life that He lived. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are to adopt the same attitude Christ had toward his suffering. This is when pain becomes valued as a precious pearl. We are to be willing to suffer because we have chosen to live righteous lives. We are to follow the example of Christ in prioritizing obedience to God in the midst of suffering as opposed to stumbling into sin.
In order to capture pain as a precious pearl I encourage you to consider the following concepts:
- Pain provides a platform to promote the power of God.
- Pain presents a privilege to enter into the presence of God.
- Pain operates as a tool that trains us to trust God.
- Pain pierces and penetrates our pride so that humility can have its perfect work in us.
- Pain provides revelation about our relationship with God.
- Pain will present an opportunity to fight or take flight.
If we pursue Jesus Christ, we will find that He is the Pearl in our pain.
For the Glory of God,