sharing in His sufferings

I wish I would have spent a little more time on my post from a couple of days ago.  I wish I would have mentioned His pain because the reality is that compared with His pain, my pain is peanuts.  He needed the paddles and my pain sometimes needs a mere bandage. And I don’t say that to minimize your pain or mine but you and and I are sinful human beings.  Sin-soaked.  He was and is the God-man.

He came wrapped in human skin.  He said goodbye to the glorious beauties of Heaven and took the escalator down to spend thirty some odd years in a sewer of sin.  Lived the perfect life and died a sinners death.  A brutiful death.  Brutal for Him and beautiful for us because He took the wrath that was meant for His sheep.  

The God-man experienced the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter.  The disciples fled.  The mocking, the jeering, the hitting, the blaspheming, the beatings.  And the emotional pain.  The song says the Father turned His face away.  At one with the Father for all of eternity past and for that moment in time He was alone, all alone.  A sinless life for sinful lives.  He experienced the wrath for us.  That was the wrath that we deserved.  Jesus in my place.  We deserve an eternity of pain separated from HIm.  

That is the just punishment for our sin.  That really magnifies our sin and it should because we live in a world that minimizes it.  But it also magnifies His grace.  The good news of His grace looks so much more glorious when we realize how bad the bad news is.  Read Romans 1-3 and the first part of Ephesians 2 and you will be taking a long hard look at the sin in the mirror.  For the redeemed, we are spared an eternity of pain on the other side but are promised a present pain because of our faith.

[12] Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV)

That’s a guarantee.  That’s a promise that we may not like to claim.  But for the Apostle Paul, he said, ‘bring it on.’  Reflect on his words:

[7] But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. [8] Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—[10] that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, [11] that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
(Philippians 3:7-11 ESV)

Did you catch :10?  You may want to reread it.  Some of the pain that we face has to do with our own stupidites and our own fragilities. Sometimes the Father disciplines His own (Hebrews 12:10).  And sometimes we feel the heat and suffer for our faith as Christ did.   Paul wanted to share in His sufferings.  The born again believer will suffer because of Jesus.  When everyone else get invited to the block party except our family. When you get passed on the promotion in the workplace because of your faith. When you get labelled the Jesus Freak in your household.  When your attempt to share your faith at the Little League game and you get mocked. When you stand up for the truth and people who should know better, don’t stand with you.  

Do you say ‘bring it on?’  How many times have you been in a conversation with an unbeliever and you had an opportunity to take a stance, but you save it for a more appropriate time?  You get an uncomfortable feeling and at that moment you just don’t want to go there because you just don’t have the energy or the patience or the zeal?  Sometimes you resist pulling the pin and throwing the Jesus grenade because you know it’s gonna get messy.  Sometimes we shirk back from doing the right thing and neglect speaking the truth in love and we run for cover because we don’t want to share in His sufferings.  

I sometimes shirk the pain too, more than I care to admit, but it’s one of the costs of following Jesus.  We experience pain in the normal circumstances of life.  We experience the Lord’s discipline when we’re off-side.  And then there’s sharing in Christ’s sufferings.  It is so easy to dodge the bullet.  But when we consider the nails that He took for us we know what the right response is.  So the next time you and I have an opportunity to share in His suffering, take the bullet, get vertical, and remember His.  





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