July 11, 2016

Sharing suffering . . .

Paul lists all the qualities and privileges in his life that he could have placed his confidence in to impress God. He was a respected and zealous Pharisee living a ‘blameless’ life. However, after his encounter with Christ the source of his confidence changed . . .

“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 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— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8–11)

Notice in this statement that Paul’s desire and goal was to know Christ, to be like Him so that whatever Christ experienced, he also experienced. He wanted to share His righteousness, His powerful life, His sufferings, and even His death knowing that Christ was the only way to live eternally.

Not too long ago, I was having a pity-party. A few disappointments had me feeling sorry for myself. However, the Lord took hold of me and reminded me that He suffered the same disappointment over and over again. The way others behave landed on Him to the point that He died for all that sin. He told me that He knew exactly how I felt, and invited me to share in His sufferings.

At this, a great weight lifted; His words had a profound effect. Instead of feeling sorry for me, I immediately focused on Him and on the privilege of knowing Him in a deeper way. I do not suffer alone but am yoked with my Savior. I know that He carries the load and being beside Him is a joy unspeakable, certainly not something to whine about.

Chambers talks about realizing Jesus in all that we do, whether eating or drinking, or washing the disciples’ feet. Realizing He is carrying my painful loads makes a difference no matter what they are. I am yoked with Him, yet He is carrying the whole load. Not only that, by His amazing grace, those sorrows become joy-filled.


Darrell said...

In collaboration with a friend:

“A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over-and-over again until we do.” – Chambers

I am created for the purpose of COMMUNION, and communion is being, not doing. This is a point at which too many of us can stumble and become religious, or fall away altogether. All that I do, dream to do, and set to actual task, should flow from the living fountain of communion. If not, then the very best I have is simply, good intentions, and perhaps, raw talent. Jesus Christ did not die for my commissioning into His service. His precious Blood was poured out, and His mighty Resurrection power actually displayed for the express purpose of being brought to Himself, set apart, and made one with Him. From this point, then, our calling has sure meaning and effectiveness.

Elsie Montgomery said...

For sure! Any doing has to and will flow out of being... being in right relationship with God (and others), filled and empowered with His Spirit, able to do all things through Christ who gives us whatever we need. What a wonderful and exciting life for those who are utterly surrendered to Him!