I am preaching on Colossians 1:24-29 this week, and verse 24 really struck me.
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church." - Colossians 1:24.
As I was studying through this passage, the commentary by William Barclay really draws out some profound insights. Let me share a little bit.
"Paul begins this passage with a daring thought. He thinks of the sufferings through which he is passing as completing the sufferings of Jesus Christ himself. Jesus died to save his Church, but the Church must be upbuilt and extended; it must be kept strong and pure and true; therefore, anyone who serves the Church by widening her borders, establishing her faith, saving her from errors, is doing the work of Christ. And if such service involved suffering and sacrifice, that affliction is filling up and sharing the very suffering of Christ. To suffer in the service of Christ is not a penalty, but a privilege, for it is sharing in His work."
I hope this gets your mind working like it did mine! Are we willing to suffer for the Church? Are we willing to join Christ even in this way? This may be one of the more difficult things for Christians today to grasp; that at times God wants us to suffer for there we get to join Christ in the most difficult aspect of His service.