No Pain, No Gain


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Bible Reading: Hebrews 4:12-13

The word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.   Hebrews 4:12

“How bad is it, Doc?” the patient asks. “Tell me the truth.”

“I’m afraid it’s bad—very bad,” the doctor replies. “If I don’t perform major surgery and remove the tumor, you will die in a matter of weeks.”

“I don’t want surgery, Doc. It will hurt.”

The doctor smiles. “You won’t feel a thing. You’ll be asleep during the surgery.” “But there will be pain after the surgery, maybe for weeks, right?” “We have medications to reduce the pain.”

“But the incision will still hurt a little; taking out the stitches will hurt.”

“Well, yes, there is always some pain involved in a major—”

The patient interrupts. “No surgery then. I don’t like owies.”

Talk about it: What things do you do to avoid experiencing the owies of life?

If we’re anything close to normal, we make it a rule to avoid pain whenever possible. We wear seat belts so we don’t fly through the windshield. We put on shoes so we don’t step on glass. We wear skid-lids when we bike so our noggin doesn’t knock against the pavement.

But no sane person shies away from the surgeon’s lifesaving knife because of being scared it will cause an owie. We know that pain sometimes produces something good, whether it’s the pain of a must-do medical procedure, the effort of a sweaty fitness workout, or the agony of attending a little brother’s tuba recital when we would rather be hanging with our friends.

Did you know that God’s Word can sometimes hurt us? I’m not talking about the pain we feel if we drop a ten-pound study Bible on our toes. The writer of Hebrews pictures God’s Word as a surgeon’s knife. God, the master surgeon, knows exactly where tumorlike growths of wrong thoughts and desires are lurking. And he knows that those growths will destroy us if they aren’t sliced out. His Word is the instrument he uses to expose those growths, bringing them to light and showing us how to get rid of them.

So whenever you read the Bible and feel the pain of God’s knife poking at you to correct you, don’t pull away. The Great Physician allows the hurt only because he loves you and wants to give you spiritual health.

TALK: How is God using his good Word like a knife in your life? Are you pulling away or letting him do his healing work?

PRAY: Thank you, Lord, for sending your Word to heal us.

ACT: Pick a Bible command that makes you hurt inside because you don’t want to hear it. Write it on the front of an index card. On the back, list the benefits of obeying. Put your card where you can see it often.


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