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Suffering as a ministry

Updated: Mar 1

By Prem Lee


Read 1 Peter 3:15-18

Col 1:24 is a mystery verse which at first reading appears to be heretical. It says that the suffering of Jesus lacked something, and what it lacked Paul wanted to complete in his body!! Was Paul greater than Christ?

No. Jesus Christ did the heavy lifting on the cross and asked Paul to do the lighter lifting in his evangelism and ministry in the churches.

Jesus’ work on the cross would not save people unless the message was taken out to the people. Taking the message out to the people would involve making sacrifices of other things one would like to do. There is work and sacrifice involved.

The point made is that there is no ministry without suffering. I will have to make choices to give up some things, so that I can create the time and opportunity to do ministry. We will face opposition from people around us, not only from non-believers but as Paul also found, from believers who were jealous of your ministry.

So, how do we handle these situations? Firstly, we need to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross and be willing to emulate His example by accepting the injustice done to us cheerfully. Secondly, suffering shows us where we have not renounced the things of the world as yet. So, identify why the hurts are there and renounce these desires for worldly things. Use suffering for spiritual growth and not for self-pity.

As we go through these situations in life, may the grace of God help us to grow in our relationship with Him.


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