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When Love Is Real

Daily Reading:  Colossians 1


In my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1.24, 29)


Devotional Thought: For Paul persecution was not a concept.  When he wrote these words, he was under arrest, awaiting his trial before Caesar.  "Filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" had moved from notional to actual.


The Bible teaches that Christ made the perfect sacrifice for the church.  Yet, do not Paul's words indicate that our sacrifice and service are somehow used by God for the church?  Are we willing to make that sacrifice?  Before we answer, we need to consider what that sacrifice meant...

·       The where of this sacrifice was "in my flesh."  Paul gave himself physically.  Paul's life was completely disrupted by his mission to preach the gospel.  He travelled long weary miles in service to Jesus.  He often lost sleep and went hungry.  He was beaten and imprisoned.  This was all very real.

·       The when was now... "I am."  There was never a moment that Paul was not expending himself for his Lord.

·       The what was "Christ's afflictions."  This is truly a mystery, but somehow as Paul suffered - and as we suffer - for the sake of Christ, he joined in the work of redemption.  What a holy place!  What a sacred privilege!

·       The why was "for the sake of his body."  Christ loved the church and gave himself for her (Ephesians 5.25).   We also are motivated by love for the church.

·       Who was doing this?  "I toil."  It's easy to say, "Something must be done."  It's much harder to do something.  Paul took it upon himself to work for his Lord.

·       How could he do it?  The same way you and I can: "with all his energy."


How much do we love Christ and his Church?


Prayer: Jesus, I know that you loved the church and gave yourself up for her.  Thank you!  You did that for me, for I am a part of that church.  Help me, Lord,  to fill up whatever is lacking in your afflictions so that many may be saved. Amen.


Psalm of the Day: 20.6-9

6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

8 They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.

9 O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

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