"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. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the Word of God in its fullness." Colossians 1:24-25- Paul was not only willing to suffer for the Church but also rejoicing in that privilege :).
- Our union with Christ includes our union with Christ's sufferings. We, His followers, share Christ's sufferings because we have been redeemed. "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him." (Philippians 1:29)
- Paul certainly knew suffering. By preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, Paul experienced all sorts of affliction...beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment, and other persecutions. Christ suffered on the cross to atone for sin, and Paul filled up Christ's afflictions by experiencing the added sufferings that came with carrying the Good News of Christ's atonement to a lost world. Suffering is unavoidable in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. But this suffering can be endured joyfully because we know that the Gospel transforms lives and brings people into God's kingdom. That's definitely a great reason to rejoice!
- The Word of God is brought to its intended purpose only when it is proclaimed. Paul became a servant of Christ...a servant of the Church. Paul's commission is to proclaim the Word of God in its fullness to those in Colosse and elsewhere.
"For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:5-7
"But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me." Philippians 2:17-18
"Since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God...Rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you...If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name... So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1 Peter 4:1-2, 13-14, 16, 19
"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus." Revelation 1:9
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." Romans 8:17