About a week ago, Tim Challies made a post on his blog (www.challies.com) concerning the topic of suffering for Christ. He quotes the passage from Paul’s letter to the Collossians which begins, “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, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” He then goes on to discuss the passage as it was applied by Ligon Duncan in his “Does Grace Grow Best in Winter?”

In the chapter in which [Duncan] discusses these verses he is explaining what God may be accomplishing through your suffering and one of the four points he brings up is this one: Building up the church. Have you ever considered this before, that through your suffering God is strengthening the church? He says, “Our suffering aids the maturity of the whole body of believers. It is extraordinary that our suffering is designed not only to work godliness in us as individuals, causing us to prize Christ more, but also to work maturity within the whole church.” And this is exactly what Paul points to in the opening verses of Colossians. “Suffering is God’s instrument to bring about the maturity of the whole church. God ordains for our suffering, as a participation in the suffering of Christ’s body, to bring about in the church the purposes of Christ’s affliction.

Read the whole post here.