Yesterday we looked at Philippians 3:13 with the theme God’s Goal I thought I would back up just a bit and unpack, verse 10.
How many of us wake up each morning, rejoicing in the Lord and shouting ‘I can’t wait to fellowship in his sufferings‘? Do we even have a clue what Paul is meaning here in this verse?
Again context is most important. In verses 7-9 Paul says all his previous gains in life (material & worldly knowledge) [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ (AMP). It is Christ and His resurrection that matters most and gaining knowledge of Him but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.
How did Paul and we obtain that? Through Christ and His resurrection of course. If Christ had to suffer to make us His chosen, should we not be willing to do the same to have communion (close fellowship) with Him? And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; (v.10)
•Fellowship Strong’s Number: 2842
Greek Transliterated Word= Koinonia
Phonetic Spelling = koy-nohn-ee’-ah
- fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse
- the share which one has in anything, participation
- intercourse, fellowship, intimacy
- the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)
- a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship
•Sufferings Strong’s Number: 3804
Greek Transliterated Word = Pathema
Phonetic Spelling = path’-ay-mah
- that which one suffers or has suffered
- externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction
- of the sufferings of Christ
- also, the afflictions which Christians must undergo in behalf of the same cause which Christ patiently endured
- of an inward state, an affliction, passion
- an enduring, undergoing, suffering
So like most of us I do not think Paul actually did got up every morning rejoicing and shouting ‘I can’t wait to fellowship in his sufferings‘. Unlike many of us however I am convinced (read the New Testament books) Paul got up every morning rejoicing and understood the life of a soul dedicated to the kingdom of God is one that will constantly be at battle with the principalities and powers of this world. He also understood that we are not to be if this world and this world is against us as it was against Jesus. Suffering for Christ, in Christ is but a small bump in the road to glory and he was willing to deal with any of these for a greater intimacy (fellowship) with his Lord and Savior.
“They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?” – Martin Luther
“Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.” – Charles Spurgeon
“Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil.” – John Calvin
“To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.” – Oswald Chambers