02 November, 2012
Why Does Paul Seemingly Ask For More Afflictions
Excerpt From The 3rd Chapter Of My Newly Released Christian Book
"Apprehended & Apprehending"
hen you really think about it, it appears that Paul’s desire in Philippians 3:10 to know God in the fellowship of His sufferings was a strange one. Since his life was already plagued with sufferings, why would he want more of it? This is the reality of being truly Christian. Paul’s desire is the fruit of his faith in Christ, His love for Him and part of the true meaning of working out your Salvation with fear and trembling. Before we can get to a real desire of the fellowship of His sufferings, we have to learn obedience to the point where suffering with Him and for Him becomes natural to us—as natural as it was for Christ to obey His Father! Jesus left Heaven and His position as His Son and made Himself a nobody for our sake and the glory of His Father. As His ministry advanced Christ said in Matthew 26:38
“…My soul is exceedingly sorrowful…”
While I have no doubt no one can ever experience the depth of His sorrow—not even Paul—mimicking Christ and Paul also means getting through this very path of suffering. Christ will decide the intensity of the sorrow in our soul. Scriptures made it clear to us that Christianity is about persecutions and afflictions. Christ could not say it clearer when He said in Mark 8:34,
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Paul also said in 2 Corinthians 1:5,
“…we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ…"
It is important to understand first of all that it is not our idea of what the cross might be but Christ’s idea. The cross in this verse is simply Christ’s Cross we have inherited through our identification with Him. As we move forward with Him, the deeper we go, the more sufferings within our sufferings is to be expected if we wish to be prepared for His purpose in our lives. Paul is not just talking about sufferings in this realm. There is a kind of suffering that we go through within our suffering that is so heavy, we literally have a hard time walking and talking in this realm. We go on with a heavy sorrow in the soul and it is not up to us to say when it is enough or when we get out of it.
In the meantime God is having His way with our soul. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that death is being worked in us—we are dying to self, inwardly, as we learn to take up the cross of Christ, not our man-made cross. This kind of sufferings can never be explained, only except experienced. There is no earthly pain to match it. The first time I experienced this kind of pain was when I went through the biggest crisis in my life. My life was falling apart completely, and I was losing everything. Only then did God feel it was time to bring on that pain. Even though I was new to this kind of spiritual training and sanctification process, I knew the sorrow in my soul was spiritual. After He confirmed that I was regenerated, He explained what the pain was about a few days later. This exceedingly heavy sorrow in my soul was Him dealing with my soul while using the Word as a double-edged sword. To that revelation I replied, “Wow! You made provisions for everything in the Bible!” It was that day He illuminated my mind to understand what He meant when He said, “His word will not return void.” I started understanding how precious each word in the Bible is to our soul and to our Salvation, here and now.