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The Surpassing Greatness of Knowing Christ … Suffering

I want to know Christ…and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.
Philippians 3:10

Ladies, think about it. In that first step of saving knowledge, you are declared righteous. God’s dynamite power is in your bones. So what then do you think about Paul inviting you into Christ’s sufferings?

The stark reality of what Jesus did for you, and for me, cuts to the core. First this: Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing (Philippians 2:6-7). Talk about humbling oneself.

Think of the life He lived while here on earth: the constant challenges of the religious (Matthew 22:15), the bickering of his closest friends for rights in His kingdom (Luke 9:46), the day His family called Him out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

Think of His sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44), His betrayal with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48), the mocking, the beatings, a twisted crown of thorns jammed on His head (Mark 15:16), Peter’s outright denial (Luke 22:54-62), the shame of the cross, His desperate cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Then think about this: you don’t really know a person, until you share in his/her sufferings. This year I have grieved deeply with a friend over the loss of her husband. Her pain is my pain. When you really, truly identify with the pain our Lord willingly took upon Himself, when your soul hurts and bleeds and dies with Him, it is there you enter into real intimacy with Christ.

And finally: what you are passionate about, you will be willing to suffer for. Men go to war to fight for the freedom they so cherish. Christ endured the cross to free us from the bindings of death. The list of Paul’s suffering for Christ goes on and on: in prison (Acts 16:23), in chains (Philippians 1:7), in a shipwreck (2 Corinthians 11:25), bitten by a viper (Acts 28:3), stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19).

The surpassing greatness of joining in Christ’s sufferings will mean we’ve caught His passions and are motivated to pursue them. Persecutions may come your way. That’s okay. You will only get to know Jesus better.

Nancy P

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