Willing to Suffer
Verse 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death,
We continue on with our list of ways Paul wanted to know Christ. We have learned about the way we are to know the power of His resurrection but that only takes us through one aspect of knowing Him. This next one is a tougher knowledge point.
Paul may come off as a crazed man when we read that he wants to know Christ and what it means to participate in His sufferings. We are not a people that like mild inconveniences or aches. If we hurt or are not feeling well we don’t tend to gloat about it. Only those with certain types of mental illness actually claim to like pain. So why would Paul want to know what it was like to suffer with Christ? Christ had not suffered lightly!
First off we must note that Paul wasn’t speaking metaphorically when he wrote this. No, Paul had suffered and known it was for the glory of God (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). In Colossians 1:24 Paul says, “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.” (NLT) He understood what it meant to truly suffer for Christ. His knowledge of Christ and His resurrection was not just about what Christ meant to him personally, Paul understood that what he knew of suffering was for the good of all the believers.
This is one of the aspects of suffering that we need to keep in mind. Paul’s desire to know Christ wasn’t a selfish endeavor. Yes, he desired to know Christ in a more personal way and grow in his own relationship with Christ but that wasn’t enough, he wanted the other believers to long to know Christ more personally too.
Struggling for Christ doesn’t always mean being beaten and imprisoned. And growing in relationship with Christ isn’t necessarily the struggle either. Yes, there can be growing pains in our growing knowledge of Christ because as we gain a growing knowledge of His holiness we will face the reality of our own sinfulness. We must understand and be willing to participate in Christ’s sufferings because that will aid our knowledge of who He is and why He had to suffer for us. Oh that we can reflect Him in our sufferings.
Making It Personal
In what ways have you suffered for Christ? Does not having suffered mean that we are missing out on knowing Him fully? What steps can you take today to better understand His suffering?
Making It Personal Kids
What are some ways that Jesus suffered? Have you ever had to suffer like that? How could learning about His sufferings help you get to know Him better?
Father, Christ suffered so much and it wasn’t for Himself, it was for us. Help us know You in Your sufferings and grow in us a willingness to suffer for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.