“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”
What makes the church work? Suffering and sacrifice for the sake of others!
All love involves sacrifice. There is no love without it! Even God’s love required the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
There’s nothing lacking in Christ’s suffering for our sins, to make us right with God. There’s nothing to add to the finished work of Christ for our salvation. But for the church to grow spiritually and to become a place of love and unity, Jesus’ afflictions on the cross were only the beginning. Much more pain and sacrifice is needed.
Jesus wants you to continue his pattern of love that sacrifices and experiences pain out of love for others, as you relate to your church. With this understanding, do you sense how God wants you to love your church? Is there pain involved? Paul compared his pain to giving birth: “My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19).
When you stop fighting against that pain and embrace it as an expression of Christ’s love through you, you’ll experience a joy and peace in your relationship to your church that you’ve not had before.
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