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Paul Miller: Following the J-Curve

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Cross Radio
July 18, 2022 10:00 pm

Paul Miller: Following the J-Curve

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 18, 2022 10:00 pm

Life's losses can leave us confused, cynical, bitter. But are we looking at the right map? Author Paul Miller’s “J-Curve”—dying and rising with Jesus—maps a different story.

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What was Jesus most glorious moment is when he's on the cross, dying for us that his glory three times. John says that in the book of John that that's Jesus moment of his glory. Jesus is mine lifted up welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue relationships that matter most and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live today.com or on our family life, family life today when we started dating you had stories about football football at the time we read stories of Feeney's crazy football stories, but one of them was a guy that used to yell during practice. One of my receivers as a quarterback when we be stretching before practice every single day college football two days during the season. He would yell from wherever he was stretching. I love pain.

Pain is awesome and we don't do it everyday I'm not can one day on a wet rainy practice.

I threw a pass to him balls were heavier because it was wet. He went up the catch of this before receivers were gloves in his ring finger and middle finger split down the middle of your writer's hand and we saw it was just horrific and had to run off the field and as he's running off the field to the trainer he's yellow now and where all I do the guys crazy as I bring it up is because we hate paying all of us hate. I will write it all down. So when he was say that you like no you don't, you actually don't like pain. None of us do.

And yeah, you discover that pain is a central part of the Christian life. Yes, it really is, and we have Paul email her back with us today to talk about the J curve in big part of what you've already discussed in the J curve is this death suffering part of the Christian life that leads to resurrection.

So anyway, Paul. Welcome back.

We'll talk about pain today with you that's great.

And does this kind of a qualifier is a stoicism Greek stoicism which is come to make a comeback in our culture because our culture is very that the all use the Greek word Epicurean which is living for pleasure and Stoicism basically says there is actually a greater good that you need to live for like that bestseller. Make your bed, which is a great little book. I guy I gave it so my my grandkids that stoicism and Stoicism says pain is good for you you know any is Paul would affirm that, but were not talking about pain is good for you, but pain is the place as a Christian, where you can experience Christ. Paul calls it a fellowship of his suffering so like when Paul is beat up in the city.

He doesn't go back into the city and say give me some more thing.

I love pain. Yeah, he's not saying I love pain.

But in his love for Jesus and in his love for others, he enters into pain. That's kind of what the J curve is is not just passively receiving but it's actually active entering into the world of love, which is means to enter into the world of pain. Well, let's review a little bit for our listeners that may begin here yesterday pol just kind of explain briefly what the J curve is again the J curve is like the J goes down into death and up into resurrection and the idea of it is the Christian life is shaped like the J which is Jesus life. He goes down into his death and up into his resurrection and enthronement. That's why the upper part of the J's perfect for that. And I barred the term out of the world of economics. So Paul talks more about the J curve that he does justification by faith. It is the one of the dominant things in the New Testament, but it's really been lost to the church so that's why this idea that somehow the Christian life should be pain-free or pain light but having the J curve as sort of the normal Christian life is really transformative. I know that you know one of my life versus you teach a lot on his Philippians 310 yeah in one of the reasons I love it is because Paul saying what I hope is my goals. I want to know Christ on the Guatemalan area. I want to literally know Christ and then he says in the power of his resurrection and I'm like yeah yeah who doesn't want the power of knowing Christ through his resurrection, and that's where want the verse and yes like there is that's that's the Christian life.

I signed up for the a lot of people sign up for and then he adds where the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. Yeah so what in the world is that all about, because that's a part as I can. We just keep their partner where I can write like you we go to the daypart that's going up and not the death right that's right yeah which is sort of the American dream. You know just like to be able to have that. So the verses right. Prior to that one you just read them briefly. Yeah, verse seven is really the context for Paul says, but whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Verse eight. Indeed, I count everything is lost because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead, and that passage that Dave just read really describes the two parts of the Christian life. So the first part justification by faith that were found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own is the ground of the Christian life, then the. The next layer. That's the foundation so we never run away from that. The next layer is that Jesus then suffering are separate from mine. Okay so I don't die for my sins, but the next layer is that the whole Christian life is is reenacting the Greek word is queen anemia, which is that intimate partnership with Christ.

I'm in a fellowship of his sufferings in our column part a and part B, you need the foundation of free grace, but a lot of Christians get stuck on the bottom so they discover a hard marriage or a difficult teenager.

They think everything is gone wrong. But if you've got that upper layer. You know like the top part of the triangle.

Now, as I do the Christian life. I reenact the sufferings and resurrection of Christ. I'm just give you a quick example of that.

We were at camp we we go every year to a Johnny camp north of us in Philly. Johnny Erickson yeah there camps for families that have a child with or a family member with disabilities and on the the first day of the camp. Jill had gotten to know this woman Kayla who was a camp helper and Kayla like all these other helpers had paid money like a short-term missions trip to come to the camp and serve so that was Monday. On Tuesday Kayla was in the food line.

You know like cafeteria and another mother heard Kayla belittle her parenting say something negative about the way she was parenting her kids this mother went to the camp directors about it and complained about Kayla and Kayla.

This is what is typical messes you know it's just all this drama so they brought Kayla and talked her Kayla had no idea with his mother was talking about and to this day we don't know what happened at but I know Kayla pretty well. I'm sure the mother just misheard her and she Should've gone to Kayla that she went to the camp so I like there were 300 people to camp within 24 hours half the camp knew about this is way too much conversation going on about this pseudo-but whenever things like that happen. So Wednesday. Kayla comes to us. She was all upset. There was no resolution on a 1 to 10 scale. This is like a 20 it feels like a nine at the moment but she's gonna leave by Friday and will whatever you know and Kayla came to us and I pointed Kayla to Philippians 3 and I said Kayla on Monday you were in a wonderful exchange where you were giving your time and your talents to this camp and your money and you were getting back just the reward of caring for people being on missions team sees that the top of the J yeah so she was giving, but it was a good, kind of giving and I said Kayla you still giving his Wednesday, two days later you're still giving all that but now you're getting Shane back so now you've entered into a fellowship of his sufferings, and I said Kayla this is your glory that anybody can serve when they're getting by me.

Jesus is not a strong amount 95 anybody can love someone who's loving them but not so she's reenacting justification by faith.

Just like Jesus took our sins and gave us his righteousness, and one of the worst exchanges for any history but no salvation for the church. So for Kayla to serve Wednesday, Thursday and Friday cheerfully would strip you of pride and ego and what I was inviting Kayla to his assorted mentally drew a picture of a room where these all these other doors like there's the door of gossip. Talking to other Lotta people about how they've wronged you are. This woman is wrong. There's the door of slander. In others the door of bitterness which is probably the worst door and the door of cynicism where you nurse that hurt against you, and then I said, there's the door at Gethsemane where you can enter into his sufferings. Our fellowship of his sufferings is not pain for our sin that's already taken care of.

So I was getting Kayla a vision of something.

I think that is really beautiful. I met him and his beautiful things you see is someone who's loving when there's very little love in return. Yet I think often when were in a situation like Kayla words or two or maybe it's an eight you know where were we are experiencing suffering or injustice.

I think we see that room with the doors yet and we don't think their doors because of bitterness or is assessed as an open wall. I think slander is there. I don't choice here. Yeah, I have to experience this year, making clear. Another is a choice. Yeah, you can choose bitterness or you can choose to fellowship in the sufferings of Christ and the results can be whatever you choose. That's right.

And that doesn't mean that she's not to feel sadness and shame right is just that she's not going to nurse them. So the J curve stabilizes my emotions so I can feel that sadness I can feel the shame, but I don't have to let it control me. I can't get out of my headgear sentenced to her.

Kayla this is your glory. Yeah, I'm thinking of all our listeners who are going through really hard thing right now you like maybe the death of someone you love. It could be that your job is just terrible.

It could be your kids have walked away from Jesus and you feel like you're suffering. I would say just what you've said, like Jesus is saying this is your glory see your tiny just come to me. Surrender to me.

Give into me and I am with you. See receive the cup Because he is with us yeah and he's experienced it himself. Just think what was Jesus most glorious moment is when he's on the cross, dying for us. That's his glory three times. John says that in the book of John that that's Jesus moment of his glory. Jesus is where I'm lifted up any look at this seen his blood is over there.

The religious rulers are mocking him. The disciples have fled. His mother is literally dying there with him.

I mean it's a absolute tragedy within tragedies and tragedies. It's Jesus glory and it's all trumped by the resurrection yeah how do we get to the place where we can see it is glory. You know, I mean we joke sort of beginning my teammate was and I love pain.

But how do we get to the place where we can actually embrace. Sorry. Then do warrant for you know the death and suffering part of the Christian life because again we love the resurrection part right, but to build a be in that room and choose the Fellowship of the sufferings rather than bitterness. That's where we need to live how we get there. Golly, I mean that's what I think the New Testament spends so much time on the J curve. I'm in the book of Philippians is all on the J curve percent. Corinthians is all on the J curve.

It's in Romans six and eight. It's in Colossians 3 I most important thing to do in the J curve is to endure. I needed to stay in the story how he will endure what that looks like that Steven and Wilson with Paul Miller on family life today will your pulse response in just a second. The first, we will preach more families with God's truth by giving to family life all this week we want to send you a copy of KY must book the peace project. 30 day experiment practicing thankfulness, kindness and mercy. You can get your copy when you give this week@familylifetoday.com when you call with your donation at 800-358-6329. That's 800 FS and family L as in life and in the word today. Right now, back to Dave and Anne's conversation with Paul Miller and what enduring a not so great situation with his boss actually looked like what examples I had a boss that I had been very close to and I really worked on her. This boss is going back 30 years ago and he was getting older and he'd always had a problem with posting and he just began to take over the organization. He was our director, he would dominate in beatings and talk a lot and it was beginning to turn some of our staff off. They were talking and I went to him twice in this one year in the early 90s about it and the first time you listen well and then within a week I realize he was just guessing me and then problems begin to accumulate. I went to him again and I took on the laid out him what was going on how staff are reacting and he responded then for the next five years. He end up dying at the end of that five years. He responded by shunning me within the organization that was one of my first most poignant J Kurz to stay endure there would not have anything wrong with me leaving but just as I prayed and reflected God had prepared me for dying to come just, whispered in my ear that that it was coming just one of the many Scriptures that God laid on my heart was from Isaiah 30 the verses about hanging in there just serve the another little story with Kim that we told us to go and you know the plane trip together was a many many J curve and this was a matter how long things are in that massive J curve just repeatedly dying he would take credit for my ideas. It was just extraordinarily painful, and that hanging in there just killed just going down like on the cover.

The J curve book. There's a little gap is one arrow going down one arrogant is a little gap there and so you going down and expecting resurrection.

You drop down and hit another Jake or so I spent five years dropping down. I just let you know just can't. In that time. I'm guessing instead of pulling away from God you pulled closer to Jesus yeah because I was constantly being stripped being shamed and it was just these repeated baths of dying and where was the power of the resurrection. You know, resurrections can appear in different places and a lot of them you don't know tell retrospect but one of them was internal in me. God was chiseling the image of his son.

Sorry he was chiseling the image of his son on my heart and on my habits is one thing to know something is another thing to enter it by repeatedly going through it again and again and again and and that's been the beauty of Jesus emerges and you and then others. I learn to pray like I never had before because I was talking I love that popular song talking to Jesus I forget who have met is just great.

So I was in the fellowship of his suffering and and in that I learned to pray like never before and I turned around and wrote about what I learned in the book of praying life.

I don't really mention this master story because it just kind of a private story just as soon I remember reading the story in the J curve in your book that you ended up in sort of the header you did raise funds was demoted to develop a director yeah but then later you had to prospectively go that prepared me for some young and your future. Since there were so many things that happened out of that so many resurrections and when this leader passed away. I discovered 18 years after his death that a couple people of been with them and that he repented for how he did. He treated me and I was in Olive Garden in Philly.

When someone told me this I just burst into tears while 50-year-old, but I was just just touched me so deeply that that's pretty remarkable when you say God was chiseling the sun on my heart is on my habits yet. I was in doing yeah becoming like Jesus. One of the words. The allusions uses cruciform ready. You know that it forms of the cross forms you you know and and it is just no shortcuts to the beauty of Jesus. Yet I know that it is you're talking because I thought so often in marriage is true in raising kids to basalt in marriage. We heard couples say to us because they're struggling, whether it's in the first year the 50th year they're struggling. Here's what they think I married the wrong person Yep Yep I had a marriage you I would be this unhappy. You're the source of my unhappiness and you know we always say we never use the phrase the J curve. But here's what I say you to marry wrong person you're looking in the wrong place. You know, you think you can find your life and your breasts and I never going to happen you have to look to Christ, which is J curve going toward. I got a look to the image of Christ.

The fire in my life I'm never invited in a spouse even a per capita house but it's sort of way to say this suffering. This this struggle is part of marriage and is part of your formation in Christ. Yeah, here's another way to put it when we think of the idea of knowing something and we actually noticed in life that we come to Christianity. We we we tend to forget a little bit, especially the Christian life that there there is the knowing, abstractly, and then there's the knowing where you interact like you don't really know football until you've played football and any experiences you don't really know marriage and that you notice a difference doing you don't know parenting babysitting is not parent you know and tell you entered into it, the teenagers, so you had one right.

It is like the Disney boot camp in combat and living so there's this whole sense that enduring in love is the door to entering Christ and then the beauty of that as your capacity for suffering and love grows and and you you don't feel as much.

I mean, you don't feel the suffering is much it just doesn't you'd barely notice it. If I've heard anything today. I would say to the marriage is struggling right now. Endure. You do or don't quit, don't run away yet fight for your marriage. Fight for your relationship with Christ and this is part of the process. There is a resurrection coming. You just gotta hang on until you get there and obey. I reminded David first Peter 412 11 don't be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. That's a beautiful summary of the J curve you been listening to David and Wilson with Paul Miller on family life to the teen years are coming and life's issues will change and get more complex and we would help you be there for your preteen start talking with resource from family life called passport to purity you take 25% off with the code passport@familylifetodate.com. If you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation. Be sure to share it from wherever you get your podcast while you're there a simple way you can help more people discover God's plan for families is by leaving a rating and review for family life tomorrow. David and Wilson will continue their conversation with Paul Miller to talk about the power of prayer on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby Abbott will see you back next time for another edition of family life family like today is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most