Paul would have made a poor “health and wealth” preacher. Throughout much of his letters to the Corinthians, Paul had to defend his willingness to work rather than accept the patronage of wealthy church members.
Because of his commitment to Jesus, his health was often compromised.
— 1 Corinthians 6.4-5, 8-10 – As servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: in great endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger. . .
In honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors and yet are true,
As unknown and yet are well known, as dying and look — we are alive, as punished and yet not killed,
As sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing everything.
I believe that suffering, especially suffering for the cause of Christ, is holy ground. I have suffered very little in my life and I am in awe of people who go through sufferings’ valley of deep darkness.
Paul didn’t rejoice in health and wealth, but he told the church in Colossae that he rejoiced in his suffering for the sake of the church and the gospel.
Colossians 1.24-26 – I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.
I became its minister according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,
The mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross and I discuss what it means to suffer for Christ and to complete “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”
The Finished Work of Christ
When Paul wrote, “I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (verse 24), he did not mean that there was something lacking in what Jesus did through the crucifixion and resurrection.
Suffering can be a powerful testimony to the power and presence of God. I heard about a man in Nepal, who was incarcerated in an overcrowded jail for preaching the gospel.
The food was awful and the conditions were not fit for humans, but the man remained faithful to Jesus and his message. At one point, the authorities released the man because he was bringing so many people to Christ.
The millions of people who have traveled the route of suffering are a testimony to the benefit their troubles bring to the rest of us.
The purpose of suffering in a Christian’s life is to “make the word of God fully known.” As people remain faithful to Jesus during the “holy ground” of suffering, they help mature the faith of the people around them.
Rudy Ross and I discuss the role of suffering in today’s YouTube video. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. You will appreciate Rudy’s insights.
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