I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10
Our Church has just put on a performance of the play A Passion For Jesus - Pentecost which tells about the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It's opening scene dramatically portrays the resurrection of Christ. It brought home to me in a new way the wonderful power that raised Christ from the dead - the power of God to perform such a miracle was incredible, amazing, glorious. It is through that same mighty power that we are saved when we first come to Christ and we change from spiritual death to life in Christ. Many of us who love Christ desire to know more of that same power and use it in service in His kingdom.
Suffering with Christ however, is not something we would naturally desire, it comes unsought as part of living in this fallen world, but isn't it wonderful to know that this suffering is not wasted or meaningless but brings us closer to Jesus. There is also the suffering that we choose for Christ's sake - not choosing our own desires, comforts, or even our own thoughts, but instead choosing God's way - as Jesus calls it taking up our cross - (Matthew 16:24). Through choosing the cross of Christ we become more like Him and begin to experience more of His resurrection power in our lives.
If you are suffering at the moment either through the troubles that come from living in a fallen world or through choices you are making to follow the path of self denial, then be encouraged, Paul implies these two things are connected - it is only in participating in His suffering that we can know more of God's mighty power in our lives.