Growth can be painful. Whether it is by working out or by any other exercise, muscles become painful when we use those which have not been used for a while. Sometimes the pain lasts for days, but if there is no pain then strength is not gained.
Just as the pain comes upon us when we exercise, we must also go through some pains while being a Christian. Because when we become Christians we are but babes. We are just beginning to learn about our salvation in Jesus and need to grow in grace with God. It is painful, to begin with as a Christian because we are still at war with our old nature as a sinner. Learning to be a Christian is a process and even though we receive Jesus and His Spirit when we have given our heart to Him, it does take some time to grow and mature in our faith.
Sometimes this growth is painful because we are not like we were before and we have moved toward God and away from the world. Our old “friends” are still in the world and they cannot understand the change which has come upon us. Is it painful? Yes, it very likely is painful when they want to do something which goes against your new faith. You would feel torn between serving Jesus or going with your friends. Some people choose to go with their friends and compromise their faith which causes pain to our new heart.
If you do this enough it will soon become easy to ignore the pain or not notice it at all. Some Christians claim that even though they are living in the world and not growing in their faith that they will still have a place in Heaven one day. While that may be true, your eternity will be different than it would’ve been had you listened to your heart and the Holy Spirit. Your rewards will be fewer and your life in Christ will be dull and lacking in the power to resist the temptations of the world around you.
Life has many times which are painful. Some of them come upon us because God allows them to, some of them come upon us because of our lack of growth and faith in Him Who saved us. We bring much of our pains into our lives because of our lack of growth in our faith and learning of God and His ways. Because there are many who think that once they have given their heart to Jesus and done the things which point toward a new life in Him, many of these so-called “carnal Christians” just wait until the day when they get to go into eternity.
The problem with this thinking is that if there hasn’t been a true change of heart which brings you to a true saving faith in Jesus, then you aren’t a Christian at all. You think you are because you do all of the things which a Christian does, mostly, but you still go back to your old life and your old habits. Without a change in your heart and a true repentance from your old ways, you can’t be seen as any different from the person you were before.
Without a broken heart knowing that your sins were part of the nails which placed Jesus on the cross, there will be no change. Because if you aren’t broken in your heart and your spirit knowing that you are responsible for Jesus’ death, you won’t reap the benefits of a resurrected heart as a child of God!