The Struggle is Real

A reading for Tuesday, May 24, 2016: Colossians 1:24 – 2:5.

There is something about struggle and even suffering that can make our commitment more real, more authentic. This was what the Apostle Paul was trying to communicate to the church in Colossae. "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church."

The greatest numerical and statistical growth of the church was in the first few centuries, when Christians were being persecuted. Not that persecution and suffering was the goal. However when others realized how committed disciples of Jesus were, that they would even endure struggle and suffering to maintain their devotion to Christ, they were convicted to the same faith. Others could see a difference Christ made in their lives.

Even today, as we watch the Christian church move and shift from the northern hemisphere of our planet in Europe and North America to the southern hemisphere of Central and South America and Sub-saharan Africa, perhaps it is the same struggle and commitment that is fueling faith. Life is more difficult in places without material resources and oppressive governments. The gospel is more relevant in places where people need hope. Even suffering occurs, and when others watch the disciples of Jesus remain committed to Christ even in the midst of struggle, they are convicted to the same. Others can see the difference faith makes.

Truth is it's not the struggle or the suffering that is evangelizing people, it's the reality that Christians can be seen as different. Faith means something very real in such circumstances, and there is no question what committed Christians believe. You can see it in their actions. One can witness the grace that sustains them. Just like in the actions of Paul... "I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ."


Popular Posts