– Woodrow Kroll
Suffering Like He Did
The Apostle Paul wanted to be with Christ, but until that time came, he strived to know Christ better, so how do you do that? Paul had a deep desire “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10). If we want to know Christ, or become “like him in death,” then we must share in His sufferings, like when He was persecuted and hated without a cause for proclaiming the gospel of repentance and belief (Mark 1:15). If we desire to be more like Christ, we must suffer like Christ, although not to the degree He suffered. Nobody has suffered like that! Not even Job.
Persecuted Like He Was
Jesus tells all of His disciples that “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20), and “these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me” (John 15:21). The Apostles didn’t have a martyr’s complex and go out looking for persecution. It came to them, just as Jesus promised, so “when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go” (Acts 5:40), and what did the Apostles do? Did they complain to the Roman authorities or appeal to the Jewish Sanhedrin, or maybe go out and hire a lawyer (just kidding on the last one)? No, they didn’t, because they wanted to suffer like Christ did, and so, “they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Act 5:41). They saw being beaten for Christ as an honor.
Sacrifice Like He Did
Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), meaning those who repent and believe. He calls us to give our life as a ransom to those around us. No, we’re probably not going to have to give our lives to save someone’s life, but we can spend our lives trying to save someone’s soul. If Jesus did not give His life, God’s wrath would never be satisfied, so let us live a life of sacrifice to others, giving ourselves away in our time, talents, and treasures, rather than burying them. The way to be “filled up” with Christ is to be like Christ.
If your life is empty, determine to be filled up with Christ, and you can do that by suffering like He did for doing the things that He did; you can be persecuted for doing what He did by doing the same things He did; and you can sacrifice your life in the sense of your time, talents, and treasure. In that way, you can build up the body of Christ, but also be filled with more of Christ.