Putting God's Word into Practice…

Colossians 1:24-2:5 Rejoicing in Suffering

on December 30, 2012

Paul wrote, “I rejoice in my suffering for your sake.”

I have been thinking about this from the viewpoint of being married to one called to minister to Christ’s church.  I don’t want to see my spouse suffer for the sake of the people God has chosen for him to minister to.  I want ministry to be comfortable and easy on him and our family.  I want the difficult times to pass quickly.  But God keeps showing me again and again that He is at work and greatly uses His “suffering servants.”  No one in the Bible had an easy ministry-even Christ Jesus Himself.

A friend brought to my attention an A. W. Tozer quote that I have been thinking about the past two days; “It is doubtful that God can fully use any man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”

The mystery of the gospel cannot be separated from suffering, for one of the greatest mysteries is that our Savior chose the path of suffering and sacrifice for our sake.  A minister of the mystery needs suffering to have the Christ-like qualities of humility, servanthood, and endurance fully developed in him.  Therefore, suffering is necessary to properly proclaim and demonstrate the gospel–the message of the Savior to others.

The power and hope of the Christ-filled life must be experienced in suffering to testify to His supreme worth and glory.

A true minister toils, works, and struggles diligently, even painfully for the sake of the maturity of the saints in the areas of love and wisdom.  I picture a farmer tilling, planting, tending, watering, fertilizing, stabilizing, and giving back-breaking care and correction to harvest a bumper fruit-producing crop.  However, they must not toil in their own strength producing explainable harvests, no harvest at all, or bug and blight ridden harvest.  Only toiling with ALL Christ’s energy that He powerfully works in those He calls and in whom He dwells is worth while toiling.

Because suffering makes us more like Jesus–we can rejoice in our suffering.  Because suffering produces fruit in others–we can rejoice in our suffering.

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