Knowledge that Counts #3. “I want to know…the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil.3:10).

Knowledge that Counts #3. “I want to know…the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil.3:10).

The fact that I do not like suffering, may say more about me than I would otherwise care to admit. I have suffered for the cause of Christ in various ways, but compared to Christ, the prophets, the apostles, and the other selfless martyrs over the centuries, I am yet to begin.

Paul suffered much for the gospel. He knew pain and privation, and he gloried in it. As far as he was concerned, he was living to expend every last ounce of his energy to supply what might be lacking in the congregations.

What brought Paul to this?

It happened when Jesus saved him. He understood that without the sufferings of Christ there would be no forgiveness for sin, no peace with God, no righteousness, and no nearness to God.

He realised that Jesus had willingly suffered to save even him; a man who had become a zealous (though unwitting) agent of persecution for the devil.

If Christ’s suffering had brought such blessings to his life, then whatever the cost, he longed to participate in its glorious fellowship.

You and I think we live in a world that is much different to that of 2000 years ago. But not so.

The average worldly person still operates on the frequency described by the apostle John as: “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Thus, the Christian cannot expect to fit in.

The worldly person wants the benefits of good Christian living—unconditional friendship, honesty, loyalty, hard work etc—but adjusting their lives to the spiritual disciplines of godliness—love for Christ and his church—is not an option.

In fact, the moment Christianity begins to encroach upon the lives of unbelievers, they quickly draw lines limiting its impact. The more those lines are crossed, the more militant they are in extricating the cause; the suffering of Christian persecution is inevitable.

Calling the world to Christ cannot be done without living through the sufferings of ungodly opposition. But because we want to see the wonderful results of sinners coming to Christ, we too “want to know…the fellowship of His sufferings.”

Thank you, Jesus!

John Staiger


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