Today, I heard a famous bible teacher and his wife teaching how to tell if what life throws at you is coming from God or from the Devil. The wife said, "If it kills, if it hurts, if it destroys itís from the devil." This particular brother said that he and his wife settled the issue years ago, and have lived their life with that principle in mind ever since - "if it hurts, itís from the devil." They donít ever have to ask God, "Lord is this from you?" They have settled it forever, if it kills, hurts, or destroys, itís not from God, and they donít have to receive it.
If it hurts itís from the devil. If it brings death, itís from the devil. If it destroys, itís from the devil. This couple took very literally John 10:10, but indicated that the scriptures that speak of the suffering of the godly "donít really say what we think they say." This famous bible teacher and his wife have chosen a path in life: a path of no pain.
If you want to choose that path in life, you most certainly can. However, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Pro. 14:12). Jesus said that if you would truly follow him, you would have to deny yourself, and take up your cross daily. Why? Because, He said, "Öwhosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Mat. 16:25). Jesus demonstrated to us the dichotomy that the path that leads to life is the path of death. Likewise, the path that leads to comfort is the path of pain. The path that leads to restoration, is the path of destruction. The path that leads up is the path that leads down.
You can choose your path in life. In fact, you have already chosen a path in life; one of only two paths. You have chosen a path that leads to life or a path that leads to death. However, do be careful. Donít be deceived into believing that you have chosen a path that leads to life if that path is not a path of death: death to your hopes and dreams, or death to your self-life and ego, or death to your reputation or image. Donít assume youíve found a path to life without the death of a cross, for Jesus forever bound the two together with unbreakable cords. No cross, no life. No death, no resurrection. No suffering, no reigning. If we are unwilling to know Him in the fellowship of his sufferings, we will never know Him in the power of His resurrection.
If you have chosen a painless path, you have chosen the path that seems right to man, but leads to death. If you save your life, you will lose it. That sister made the statement that, "if it hurts, itís from the devil and not from God." Let me state the obvious and make the statement that if it doesnít hurt, itís not a cross. If it doesnít hurt, itís not a path that leads to life, for thereís no such thing as a painless cross. Thereís no such thing as a painless breaking. Thereís no such thing as a well of compassion without hard, sharp, digging instruments, and thereís no such thing as resurrection without death.
I like the words of an old hymn that goes something like this:
Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
No, thereís a cross for everyone
And thereís a cross for me.
If you like, you can reject lifeís pains and sorrows. Oh, youíll still experience the pain and sufferings that are common to all man, and if your faith in Godís Word is strong enough you can even escape many of those, but if you so choose, youíll never have to experience the greater pains and sufferings that are reserved for Godís precious few. If you so choose, you can escape the fires that make vessels fit for noble purposes. If you so choose, you can escape the wonderful pains and sorrows and breakings that God reserves only for those with a high calling, and youíll never have to know the sweet comfort of Jesus in the midst of pain. Youíll never have to know the arms of Godís love embracing you in the midst of lifeís storms. Youíll never have to know the wondrous anchor of sweet surrender to His purposes as you walk toward His smiling face right into the very thing you fear.
There is a path upon which the pains of life come only from the devil. However, "There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it", and on this path, the pains and sorrows of life come straight from the hand of the fairest of ten thousand, to those of whom it is said of Him, "Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee."