April 6, 2011
Pondering again this morning the many writings of Paul~ trying to wrap my dazed brain around the truths that he writes about and that God is making real in my life. Reading in Philippians 3:10-11 he says: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead. Further down in verses 13 and 14 he says: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. The words had me stumped in the middle of my morning coffee time.
Paul said earlier in verses 7-8: But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Rubbish~ all these worldly, temporary things that I chase after. Longing to know Christ through the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings? What foreign concepts to a world where we chase pleasure and our greatest joy is finding something on sale at Walmart. Do we understand even a glimpse of our God, Christian brother and sister? What in the world was Paul talking about?
Alexis brought me to Hebrews 10:32-34 in looking for the answer: Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. God has always set His people apart. After the fall He never intended them to be comfortable here. Even His own son was treated with cruelty and contempt. Let us consider the privilege of suffering.
Consider how it makes us look for a way to make everything make sense. Consider that God only disciplines His children. Consider that God is sovereign. Consider that this world is fallen and is ruled by the enemy and is the deciding factor of the eternal, where all things will be made right. Consider that all these things will be thrown away as rubbish. Consider that all things suffered here will receive rich rewards from the King of the Kingdom. Consider that we really do only know Christ better through suffering because it forces us to let go of our own ideas and plans and consider His and which one is better. When life goes as the commercials promise and it is all about us and what we want we don't think twice about God. We are so lulled by the comforts here that we forget about eternity. When you have just seen eternity a little closer to home you tend to live with eternity close to your heart. Today I will ponder a bit more the longing to know Christ through the sweet fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. One day I will sit at the feet of the One who suffered and He will explain it to me fully.