BIBLE READING: 2 COR.4:17-18; ROMANS 8:18; 1PETER 4:13; 5:1
And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:9-11(NKJV).
We do not rejoice that we are suffering. Rather we rejoice because we know that our suffering is producing intangible Christlike Virtues in our lives. Suffering produces perseverance, character and hope (Romans 5:3-4).
Fellowship implies identification. Fellowship is the coming together of like minds or being united in a common belief. When we fellowship with others, we stand on common ground. We are brought together by things that are important to all of us. Fellowship also implies an indissoluble bond, something not easily broken and forged by common experience. Spiritual fellowship of any kind is spiritual identification with others.
From our Bible reading, Apostles Paul and Peter were saying that, by identifying with the Sufferings of Christ, there are weights of glory being deposited for us in Heaven, even though temporarily suffering is not palatable.
When we come to Christ, we are fully identified with Him and Him with us through the Cross. In God’s eyes we are one with Christ. For instance, whenever we partake of the Communion, we share in the Fellowship of His Sufferings. We recognise, acknowledge and give thanks for the Sufferings He endured on our behalf.
Jesus suffered for all mankind, not only for those who believe. If we share in the Fellowship of His Sufferings, we also share in the Benefits of His Sufferings. His Purpose must become our purpose: To reach all. The Fragrance of Christ that is being produced in us must be shared with those around us. Every discipled believer ought to be a carrier and a dispenser of the Fragrance of Christ to his or her world.
We do not have a High Priest Who is not touched by the feelings of our infirmities. (Hebrews 4:15). He feels what we feel and the same form of identification is expected of us in our relationship with Christ as well as others because it is the comfort with which we are comforted that we can comfort others. (2 Cor. 1:4) Howbeit, the onus lies upon us to rejoice for the privilege of drinking of His Cup of Suffering, thereby qualifying us to reign with Him.
Father, do a deep work of understanding in me to know the Fullness and the Benefits of the Fellowship of Jesus’ Sufferings. Please cause me to be a faithful sharer of the fragrance of Christ, in Jesus Name. Amen.