“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Phil. 3:10)
Some of your minds I would presume just went to the cross, excruciating pain, pain unimaginable, a night of beatings and scourging, and then every nerve ending in our Savior’s body screaming in anguish.
I think that some who have been born-again see our walk with Christ as a ladder if you will, great joy for them at that cross when their burdens are lifted off their backs, when they are justified in the eyes of the Living God, saved by grace, hid in Christ for all eternity. And we should be, that is the pivotal moment in our lives.
We begin to apply 2nd Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” And John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
These next rungs on the ladder are welcomed with joy and anticipation, we want to seek the face of God, we read, “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1st Cor. 1:24)
Then James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
And many want to pray for wisdom, but then that next rung speaks of Isaiah 53:3a, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
And we hesitate.
If we want to obtain the offering, the blessing of wisdom, we must prepare our hearts to experience, and that frequently, grief and sorrow.
Many wait for the Lord Jesus Christ on this part of the ladder their entire lives, they love Him, but the knowledge of what awaits, that grief and sorrow, to be despised of men, to be hated by the world, is too much for them.
If we envision growth in the Lord as a ladder, there is a rung further up that is called the fellowship of His suffering, and if you want to live the crucified life, you must reach for it. The man of God who does so may be required to pass through places that many of his brothers and sisters in Christ will not, and you must seriously contemplate this truth before reaching up for that rung.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2nd Tim. 3:12)
Yes, but few, comparatively speaking, will have their names inscribed in that wall of faith spoke of in Hebrews eleven.
The Lord loves all on that ladder, and He understands why many will not pray to be in the fellowship of His suffering, it is going to hurt, there is suffering there, there are trials and tribulations that await there, and just because you ask to be placed there does not mean that He will grant that request.
There is the crux of the matter my friends, wanting with any reservation of obtaining is not truly desiring.
We want peace, safety and security, not pain and suffering, we want a fellowship with our Lord that does not require grief and sorrow. And He understands that.
If you lack wisdom and decide to earnestly pray for wisdom, recall these words, for that rung cannot be let go of once reached, it necessitates climbing further, it requires one to accept that up ahead is one called the fellowship of His suffering.
I am a very slow learner, it took decades for me to realize this truth, but there is nothing that I would trade in this life or the one to come that would cause me to let go of that rung.
I have been led to write this letter as both a warning and a desire, not as a mandate or commandment, you do not have to reach for that rung of the ladder, He loves you where you are, and always will, and He forces no one to climb to that point.
There are rungs past this one, once you are on the first one though, you are on your way to the strait gate, no matter how high you climb.