24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
This verse gets a more tangible perspective when we realize Paul is writing the letter of Colossians from a Roman prison. One thing is to tell others how to behave and how to respond without having gone through suffering; another is to, in the middle of it, be able to rejoice in his suffering while living it out. Paul continually preaches the message of Christ through his words, but also through the testimony of how he lives his life.
Christ ultimate suffering came through the Cross, in bearing our sin and shame, but He endured all kinds of afflictions throughout his life.
What is Paul saying here? As those who are called to be the Body of Christ, we ourselves will endure suffering, persecution, injustice, because of our faith.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:17,18
Expect suffering. It’s not like Paul was “chasing” suffering, but he was willing to go through it. The suffering Paul is talking about is full of purpose, because it reveals God’s glory. We might not always be able to see the outcome now, but while we are in the midst of suffering for the sake of the Gospel, we need to remember the reward that is to come – His Glory revealed in us.
Thoughts for the day
- Are you or someone you know suffering because of their faith in Christ right now? How can Paul’s words bring you/someone else strength and encouragement?
- Can you think of someone who needs that kind of encouragement now? Take some time to pray for them.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may keep the Lord Jesus at the center of my life. Help me, not only to be willing to suffer in this world for Your Name sake, but also to rejoice that I am counted worthy to suffer because of Christ, whose death, burial and resurrection has saved my soul from eternal separation from You, in Jesus name I pray, amen.