Colossians 1:24 ESV
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
I was reading this the other night and I got real offended by Paul’s words “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” because from my understanding, Christ’s death was more than enough for me. There is nothing lacking. But yet, those words are still there in the bible. Why? Doesn’t the bible state over and over again that Christ’s death paid for all of our sins in full?
I did some searching online and find this article by John Piper. Read the four sections (If you want) titled: What Does Paul Mean?, A Hint in Philippians 2:30, One Thing Lacking, and God’s Strategy for Completing His Commission.
I was looking at it wrong. Of course Christ’s suffering is and will always be enough. But not everyone knows that, not everyone knows and has experienced the freedom and peace we get from His suffering. What is lacking is simply that not everyone knows about what Christ has done for us and as Christians, we still suffer, but our suffering is not in vain. There is hope in our suffering, there is (can be) still peace in our suffering. Our suffering is only the beginning of something beautiful.
I believe what this verse says, or maybe rather tells us, is that as Christians we shouldn’t hide our sufferings from the world. We shouldn’t cover our suffering. Instead, be very open about it, let the world see it like they saw Jobs suffering, like they saw Paul’s suffering, like they saw Jesus’ suffering. And more importantly, with the open honestly and truth of our sufferings, the world will be able to see how even though we suffer, we as Christians can still find joy, hope, and peace in the midst of our storms. Let the world know we suffer, but let them know we as Christians don’t suffer in vain and show them our character, our integrity throughout our sufferings. Because I believe our character through suffering speaks louder than our character through perfect times.
So the only thing lacking in Christ’s suffering, is our own suffering.