“I rejoice in what I am suffering for you…”
Colossians 1: 24
What an amazing comment to make to fellow believers. The Apostle Paul counts it a joy to suffer for the people in Colosse, and in all the places he has been, teaching God’s truth and love.
We can see how we may sometimes suffer for the gospel. We can see how God may permit us to suffer, to teach us God’s ways. But to suffer and bear burdens for other people, is a rare calling. The idea of inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of other people, is not part of our human psyche. So to be asked to suffer for the good of others, is totally against our mindset, except we are getting something out of it.
Yet it was the mindset of Christ, and becomes the mindset of all who follow Him. Jesus did endure such ignominy and pain for our sakes, to make it possible for sinful humans to obtain eternal life, through His atoning sacrifice. We do not do this. To our human thinking it is a weakness to be that way- a bit of a loser.
God’s ways are definitely not our ways and we see this demonstrated over and over again. The devotion of Job to his Lord, meant for him to suffer every kind of tragedy and remain a faithful servant.
The friendship of Moses with his maker and God, which enabled him to lead a huge nation through a wilderness to find the promised land, is amazing to us.
The wisdom of Esther that took her into the palace hareem and to boldly pick her moment to set a plan to save the people of God.
Rehab, that amazing woman who trusted God on the promise of two spies. She saw God and found herself in His family and became an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Himself.
Daniel who faced the lions; Joseph who endured imprisonment; Deborah the judge and always wise and just in her judgments; John the disciple who loved Jesus; Mary who poured out her future to anoint her Lord and God.
Every Christian has a calling and we all wait for God to show us and give us the strength to do His will. We are all burden bearers and ready to make sacrifices for the sake of other Christians and also those who do not believe. We pray that God will bless and save the people, around us, and we are called to reach out to them.
To put ourselves down is a Godlikeness thing to do. To choose second best for the sake of other people, is not human nature. We must learn our lessons and become strong in the Lord. We must build courage to face enemies and pray for them. We suffer loss so that God’s message will be spread abroad to all who do not believe. This is our number one exploit.
Read the story of Paul in the New Testament and be amazed at his total devotion to his Saviour Jesus, and how it affected his life. Once we get a view of Jesus Christ, we cannot go back. We seek Him and to be like Him – the One who suffered ultimate loss so that we could live…
Are we prepared to be misunderstood and sidelined, so that we become more like our Saviour, and less and less of ourselves…?