PARTAKING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Colossians 1:24
I read this text as a young Christian many years ago and was quite confused. I wasn’t too happy at what I thought the Apostle Paul was saying.
How dare him say that the sacrifice of Jesus was incomplete and he had to add to it!
But over the years, the Lord has shown me what Paul was saying.
You see the sacrifice of Christ is complete and nothing can be added or taken from it. Paul isn’t referring to that sacrifice. He was speaking about something else entirely.
He was referring to the physical sufferings of Christ- the afflictions, hardness and pressures that came upon Him because of the task of saving the souls of men.
Today the believer is one with the Lord, identified vitally with Him. We have our share of sufferings, afflictions and hardness to take on with our Lord and Christ.
Note that the Apostle Paul says he does all this for his body’s sake, the church. We do know for sure that he was doing it for the sake of our Lord but he wanted you to know what was paramount on his mind- the Church.
The Church held such a high place in his heart that he was willing to give up his life for her.
Jesus has played His part but there’s a part we must play. We are called to partner with Him in building His church. That’s His priority. That’s the biggest project in all of history. It’s Jesus’ project. This work involves sacrifice, hardness, afflictions and if necessary the shedding of blood. It never happens at leisure. Never!
We are called to fill up in our flesh that which is behind of the afflictions of the Lord for the sake of His church.
The church grows by the sufferings of her laborers. The price of her growth is the afflictions of the saints.
These afflictions or hardness in no way speaks about poverty, sickness or all such. Jesus delivered us from all that.These afflictions are the hardships that befall us because of the Gospel and the building of the Lord’s church- the sacrifices we make, the hardness we have to go through.
For example, you planned to travel but you decided to use the money to fund the Gospel. You choose a lower paying job just so you can remain in a certain area to minister the word to the brethren.
Heaven rewards our scars for the gospel not our material acquisition.What are you going to give up for the churches’ sake today today?
Dear Lord, I am committed to the work of the gospel. I am unwavering and bold, no matter the persecution I face. Nothing is too much for the gospel as I give of my substance, time and self to seeking first the Kingdom of God and it’s expansion, confident that my reward is a hundredfold in this age and in the world to come. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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