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I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings… Phil 3:10 NIV
If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. 2 Tim 2:11-12 NIV
The Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. Rev 17:14 NIV
The Story of Easter is both a death and a resurrection. It is also the story of each of our lives. The experience of knowing Jesus includes the sharing of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection. Regardless of our theology, our path as sons will include both thorns and crowns. Taking up our cross is one aspect of our life in Christ. Taking up your crown and becoming a King is another. We are not balanced as believers until we have done both. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords because we really are seated with Him to rule and reign with Him.
The fellowship of His suffering – The challenge of suffering is that we don’t control it. We can throw a tantrum and it will not go away. In fact, the wilderness feels like it will last forever… as though God really has forsaken us. The reality of suffering from Job to Joseph to Jesus to Paul is that it does not last forever. It is a season, quite often a short one. The healthiest response is to receive the suffering as part of our assignment from Jesus and allow it to have its effect on our character and faith. Suffering deepens our hearts in maturity in a way that success cannot.
The greatest danger of going through a season of suffering is building a theology that suggests it’s normal, permanent and hopeless. Suffering is a season, not a way of life. It produces a fruit and serves a purpose and comes to an end. It is only the devil who would like to convince us of the permanency of pain.
The key to surviving this “season” is that it is not a moratorium on hearing from God. No matter what we face, hearing His voice freshens our spirit, encourages our hearts and strengthens our resolve to go through whatever the Lord has for us.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor 4:16-17 NIV
The power of His resurrection – Receiving promotion and anointing from the Lord is the polar opposite of suffering. Surprisingly, it is also a place of surrender, and many believers resist it. One difference is that living the resurrected life takes more than surrender. We do have to agree for it, but we also have faith for it and plan initiatives to make it happen. It is a place of power to change lives and the authority to discern and defeat enemy tactics. It is often public, prominent and prosperous. It draws the praise of men, the applause Heaven and the warfare of enemies. It is the experience of being carried by the wind of God’s Spirit to exploits beyond our expectations or abilities for the sake of others. It is through tears of gratitude that we give praise to God after these peaks. We are more than conquerors through Christ.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom 8:35-37 NIV
We are called to both. The fellowship of His suffering is the source of depth in our spirit and heart, and is the foundation to handle the anointing and to represent Jesus’ resurrection power. Our calling is not small… to heal the sick, raise the dead and disciple nations. It is our privilege to see the Kingdom of God and say “yes Lord” to everything He has for us. There is a cost that sons must count, but it is well worth the experience of doing what the Father does and revealing Jesus to those around us.
‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matt 10:7-8 NIV
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. Rom 8:18-19 NIV