“A life lived for the sake of others prepares you in the present for eternal life in God’s kingdom.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 30, 2021
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. Colossians 1:24, ESV
In and of itself, suffering is neither virtuous or loving. Sickness, pain, and oppression are the very things that our Lord came to conquer and to heal, destroying death by his own death. Therefore, when we encounter trials in our lives, they are a reminder that we live in a world that still awaits its full redemption, healing, and restoration. Things simply are not as they are meant to be, and it is not a lack of faith to grieve this brokenness and its impact upon our lives and those we love.
And while all of this is true, it is possible to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for him to heal the world of its suffering and pain, while at the same time receiving with joy the opportunities we have in the present to give our lives away for the sake of others. St. Paul endured many difficulties in his life, from long-standing personal illness to intense seasons of persecution for his faith in Christ, yet was able to see how these momentary struggles found their ultimate meaning in the grand story of rescue and redemption that God was (and is!) telling.
Paul rejoiced in his sufferings because he knew they were rooted in his love and concern for the church at Colossae. He suffered for their sake, seeing his own personal happiness and comfort as unimportant when compared to the joy of leading others into the family of God! Are we able to do the same?
A life lived for the sake of others prepares you in the present for eternal life in God’s kingdom. It reveals to you the way of humility, seeking the good of others and dying to your need for affirmation, success, or power. When we encounter the transforming love of God, we are reminded of our identity as beloved children of the King, and that word of love spoken over us frees us to live in daily acts of concrete love towards our family, friends, and neighbors.
Joy is found in the way of surrender, so live your life today for others, even when it comes at a great cost, for your suffering will one day be a cause for great rejoicing!
Father, help me to see that my pain, sorrow, and struggle can be healed by your love and even a source of joy as I give my life away for the good of others. Amen.
How can you live a life of love for others, even in ways that ask you to sacrifice your time, energy, and money as a blessing to those in need?
Young Oceans: Only You
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