Today’s bible study is Colossians 1:24-27: I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
We are all very aware of the suffering of Christ, both during his time on earth and his ultimate suffering at the time of his crucifixion. Yet, do we ever really think about being glad when we are suffering> Do we ever feel that we are doing the work of the Lord, and that our present suffering is something to take joy in being a part of?
The question of suffering had been a theological discussion topic for a very long time. We ask, how could a loving and merciful God cause his people to suffer? And, when we are suffering, we often pray for relief of that suffering, pain, turmoil or difficulty. Some contend that suffering is a means of strengthening us, both physically and spiritually. Some claim that suffering is simply part of the human condition or the product of choices that we make during our lives. But, have you ever considered your own suffering to be a sharing with Jesus Christ? Probably few, if any of us, have. It is simply something that we do not consciously think about.
Yet Paul did think about it and reveled, to some extent, in the gladness of suffering with Christ for his Lord and for his church. Then he brought this message to the people of Colossus, telling them that it had been kept secret and has now been revealed. Paul believed that God wanted the people to know the riches and glory of his kingdom and his followers. So, Paul shared with them the secret: Christ lives in you.
Christ lives in you. That is a powerful statement to make to anyone, especially to a Christian. Yet it is a very truthful statement, and one that we sometimes do not think enough about. The spirit of Jesus, the love and compassion that he so freely shared with his fellow humans, the promise of the kingdom of God, and the glory that is our Lord and Savior is embedded in our hearts, our minds and our souls. It is an integral part of us, whether we think much about it or not. Paul was very aware of this blessing. And we, as Christians, can remind ourselves of it as often as we wish. It is no longer a secret. The glory and the joy are ours for the taking.
The chapter concluded with Paul’s personal relationship to Christ and his asking that we tell of the good news as well. He writes: So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.
May we, like the apostle Paul, continue to recognize the perfect relationship God has given us and to tell others of His glory and power and love. No matter how hard the struggle, how difficult the path, how hurtful or impossible the situation, the mighty power of Christ is within each of us.
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