Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Fellowship of His Sufferings

Seems we often equate fellowship with church potlucks. "Come for fun, food, and fellowship!" But there's another side of fellowship that isn't all fun and games. There's a side of fellowship that involves suffering.

The apostle Paul talks about this in Philippians when considering his prior life and values. Formerly a pharisee and now a follower of Jesus, his desire is to be found not in his own righteousness but rather in the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

He says that the things he once considered assets have become liabilities, or rubbish, compared to the "surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death,
and so, somehow,
to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
~Philippians 3:10-11

Do we want to know Jesus that badly? Do we want to take part in his sufferings, to identify with him in the valleys, or do we only want to participate in the mountaintop experiences? 

God has plans for our lives, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. One of those plans is to conform us to the image of His son . . . meaning He will shape us into the likeness of Christ. That, friends, involves suffering.

Ours would be a one-dimensional likeness if we only related to Christ on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and not His agony in the garden or His death on the cross. Don't you agree?

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