“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church”
Paul presents his ministry from verse 24 to the end of the chapter. Paul viewed the ministry with joy.
“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you”
Paul suffered for the church at Colosse. When he brought the gospel to them, many rejected him. He viewed this suffering in presenting the gospel as a joy. He sat in jail because of the gospel. It was an honor to suffer for his Savior.
Inner orientation to God enables us to orient properly to suffering.
There are occupational hazards when we serve Jesus Christ. One of the greatest of those hazards is people. We face confused people, bullying people, sneaky people, and gossip behind the back types.
Many leaders let people get them down. We think that we need a rhinoceros hide to serve in the local church. Each time we go into ministry, we must slip into our rhinoceros suit and never take it off until we get home! We say, “Everyone who serves Jesus Christ must have a thick hide.” Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. There is no such thing as a person with a rhinoceros hide in ministry. All of us are human. We all have areas of sensitivity. No matter how some seem to roll with the punch, they still feel it whenever people malign or ridicule them. It is not that they roll with the punch. They have discovered a principle: No matter what problems there may come from people, they can still “rejoice” in suffering for the gospel.
Serving our Lord has nothing to do with masochism, where we love to hit ourselves over the head and say, “It feels good when I stop!” Ministry is not a form of self-hypnosis. Above all, we must walk in the Spirit. When we do, the result will be joy (Gal. 5:22). Joy is an inner orientation to life that throws a protective covering around us. In doing so, God keeps us from bitterness. No instability can come from criticism, persecution, or slander when we orient to God’s plan. Any other attitude than joy will torpedo our orientation to God. No one stays in ministry with a proper attitude unless they live the Spirit-filled life; one of the fruits of the Spirit is “joy.” All the money or approbation in the world is not worth it.