Reading: Colossians 1: 24-28
One of the reasons Christ became flesh was to be like one of us. Jesus Christ walked the earth in a human body and set for us an example of how we are to live. Once we come to the point of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, then His Spirit comes to dwell in our fleshy bodies. With the indwelling of Christ in us we know the hope of our eternity. We know that once Christ dwells in us and lives in us, that one day we too will experience resurrection and will rejoice in the hope of eternal life in the heavens. This is wonderful news for all believers.
Paul also writes of suffering. He rejoices in what he has suffered in order to continue advancing the gospel. Paul is always ready to suffer for others. He is so willing to do so because Jesus Christ first suffered for him. Through the ultimate suffering on the cross, Jesus provided the path to our hope of glory, to eternal life.
Once we come to have Christ in us and to live our lives in Christ, we begin to take on and then seek to emulate all aspects of Christ. Suffering is one aspect of Christ that we, like Paul, are called to take on. As His followers we too must be committed to suffering as Christ suffered. It is a willingness to both suffer for and to suffer with those who suffer. It is a willingness to have less so that another may have some. It is a willingness to enter into relationships with those who suffer and to walk alongside them to alleviate some of the suffering. It is a willingness to give one of the things we hold most dear: time.
In willingly offering ourselves in suffering for another, we bring Christ himself to those most in need. As Paul wrote, we share Christ so that “we may present everyone perfect in Christ”. It is living out our great commission to bring all people in all nations to kneel at the foot of the cross. This day and each day may we embrace each opportunity God brings to suffer as Christ suffered, all for the building of the kingdom and all for the glory of God.