The Fellowship of His Suffering
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:7-11).
Through the motive of love and obedience, the apostolic messenger of God, Paul, appreciated the salvation afforded him through the death of the anointed Jesus the Christ. Paul knew the grace and mercy of God was an unmerited gift, navigating his soul and spirit into the eternal arms of God. Because of the suffering endured by Christ on the cross and through His daily life, Paul wanted to experience discomfort and tribulation as a way of identifying with the resurrected Messiah, the sinless sacrifice seated at the Right Hand of God.
Because Paul knew his life was dung without Christ, he wanted to be intimately calibrated, correlated, and woven with the same power that transported Jesus from a borrowed tomb to a heavenly throne. The same man who elected to live with his thorn in the flesh, beckoned to God, yearning to be in fellowship with the suffering of Christ. What an against-the-grain concept, disposition, perspective, and plea. Who is willing to follow.
In our current society of denial, deflection, comfort, and placation, it is uncustomary for a person to want to commune with suffering. Thus, if investigated from the wrong platform, the words and desire of Paul appear absurd and misguided. However, he was motivated by Christ and not the whims of worldly comfort and ease of life.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul explored the concept of being a living sacrifice, unconfirmed to the world, but transformed by the spiritual renewing of his mind. The heavenly evangelical message of God is that we all be made conformable unto the death of Christ. Grow in the fellowship of His suffering on the cross. The next time you experience kingdom persecution, remember the suffering of Christ and the thankful and grateful earthly position of Paul. Remember, you are the clay In the Potter’s Hands. God has paved a way to save and comfort you today!