”But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
with exceeding joy
“Exceeding joy” means to celebrate a victory. We experience a state of great joy that often involves verbal expression – to be extremely joyful, to be overjoyed, to rejoice greatly. When we arrive at the point where we have inner joy based on what God does for us then we have something to celebrate. Celebration is a result of victory.
Faith lays hold of future glory. Christians have a wonderful future. We therefore need not fear old age or what the future holds in time. There is no comfort in the future for those without Christ.
“Exceeding” means to go beyond and carries the idea of exulting. In that day we will have an intense joy and a transcending joy. This is joy that goes beyond anything we have ever known. We cannot properly describe this joy.
1 Pe 1:8 “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
Ps 16:11 “You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The only joy in which non-Christians can participate is temporal joy. Temporal joy never lasts.
A manifestation of the Christian who is controlled by the Holy Spirit is joy,
Ga 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”
Suffering forms a backdrop for God to demonstrate his grace making us exult in inexpressible joy.
David spent much of his life as a lonely shepherd boy and later as a fleeting nomad. This prepared him for his role as king. God operates the same way in our lives. He prepares us to be conformed into the image of Christ. David said that “It was good that I have been afflicted.”
Ps 119:71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.”
Black clouds make us appreciate the sunshine. The grace of God cannot be seen unless he has a means to manifest it through suffering. When trials come our way it is an opportunity for God to display his grace. Persecution blesses us because it forms a dark backdrop for the true radiance of the Christian life. The stark contrast of God’s blessing in trial is like a brilliant diamond that sits on pitch-black velvet.
Affliction is the emery wheel that takes off the rough edges of our lives. Suffering makes us more mature and appreciative of eternal values.