You and Jesus share a desire for your comfort. But you and Jesus do not always agree on what kind of comfort is best for you.
In fact, right now you might be feeling that if Jesus really cared so much for your comfort, then you would not be dealing with such pain. But that is not true. What is true is that you likely prefer the comfort that comes from the absence of discomfort, while Jesus prefers you to have the ultimate comfort of your holiness.
So while you might feel frustrated over a very uncomfortable situation you’re being forced to deal with, Jesus is actually pursuing your long-term comfort through that very situation.
It is in these seasons that Jesus’s promises to be with you always (Matthew [28:20]) and to never forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) may not be so much comforting as they are bothersome or even painful. These are times you might wish that Jesus would just leave you alone.
Training Is Always Uncomfortable
If you’re a Christian, you are a disciple of Jesus. And by necessity, a disciple undergoes discipline. If a disciple is a student, then discipline is training. Jesus’s discipline for you, however severe (and it is severe at times), is not God’s wrath against you. If you are tempted to believe that, don’t. It’s your unbelief or the Enemy talking to you. When Jesus became sin for you (2 Corinthians [5:21]), he removed all of sin’s condemnation from you (Romans 8:1).
No, discipline is training. Training in what? Training in righteousness (2 Timothy [3:16]). The unique training course that Jesus has designed for you (he designs a unique course for each disciple) has one great aim: to teach you to trust him in everything. That’s his goal for you. Jesus wants you to learn to trust in him in all things at all times. For the more you trust Jesus, the holier you become.
Now, justification by faith alone is a glorious truth. When we first trust in Jesus’s person and work for the forgiveness of all our sins and the promise of eternal life, God credits to us the righteousness of Christ, in union with Christ by faith. We are saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9), and we are considered, in that moment, holy as Christ is holy — because we are in Christ. It is a moment of great comfort.
Then comes the school of sanctification. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). First, he confers on us the degree, and then he sends us to school. It’s a wonderful education system, for we are guaranteed graduation (Philippians 1:6).
Nonetheless, in this school, things get very uncomfortable for us. Jesus begins to train us to live by faith in him (Galatians [2:20]). He trains us to live out the righteousness we have received through faith; he means for us to grow in the experience of the holiness he has given us; he transforms us into his likeness by the renewing of our minds (Romans [8:29]; 12:2).
Jesus Is a Gracious Trainer — And Relentless
Jesus is a gracious trainer, but he is also a relentless trainer. We are not nearly as eager for our growth in holiness as he is. We tend to think that our progress so far is good enough. We might even be tempted to think that Jesus is cruel because of the amount of pain he puts us through. But the truth is, we don’t really know what’s good for us.
Written by Jon Bloom
Full story at Desiring God