It has been hard for me to to keep my early morning rhythm of late in my annual read through scripture. Shortly after my arrival in Colossians, I was stymied by the thought that Paul would imply that something was missing; or as he put it, “still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions.”
Processing for Facebook readers affords little space and thus the occasional retreat to my blog, though it reaches fewer readers.
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. ” Col. 1:24
Paul goes on to imply, at least in my understanding, that “the glorious riches of this mystery, Christ in you” is the secret sauce of the Church. As well, he speaks of a responsibility to “present everyone perfect in Christ”. Glorious riches, yes!! Suffering, self denial and a huge responsibility to present everyone perfect in Christ, Uhmmm!
Just yesterday, one of my more brief (now modified per feedback) Facebook posts read:
For my Christian friends who struggle with having missed “the will of God”, (one of the more common complaints when evangelicals suffer), unless God is impotent and less loving than the Christ revealed, some of our doctrines of “choice” may have led us to err.
The source of our suffering, (not always physical persecution thanks to civil law and separation of church and state) but often just as brutal, may be less “missing God” and more the lack of fully embracing radical transformation, a primary message of the cross. Perhaps, the cross was not as much to appease God per our sins (again for my evangelical friends), as to also demonstrate the price of true transformation, paid in the flesh of the man Jesus, as he fully embraced the transforming power of the Christ? Think of the supernatural power revealed following his resurrection! Could that same transformation, a sort of being conformed to the image of Christ (who was God) be now rightfully ours?
If so why settle fire insurance and religious activity that less and less appeals to those desiring true transformation. Press into your faith with an understanding of the price but with excitement and awe…it’s there for you!
Perhaps suffering is the unfinished, “still lacking,” piece that belongs only to the (big C) Church? Could the secret sauce be the true transformation of sinners like us, yet, found only in suffering and self denial? Much better than words proclaimed every Sunday in sanctuaries, with ever diminishing attendance, might be an in the streets witness of the powerful benefits of a relationship with the Living God, followed by the exceptional generosity of those saints who live in extravagance, myself included!
The secret sauce, Christ in us, the hope of glory!
I have to wonder what might happen in my city if the local Journal published the story of a crippled, homeless guy, who suddenly found himself walking normally, “not sure who the guy was, but when I asked him for some spare change, his words were, ‘”silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto you, in the name of Jesus stand up and walk!”‘
I know, at times I am too hard on myself, then I read “That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” Col. 1:29 TLT.