But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life.
Somewhere in my life someone taught me that Jesus suffered and died so that I would not have to suffer or die. The idea was that Jesus had the "hard life" so that I could have an easy one. It is a popular view of Christianity but to be perfectly frank, it is not true. The Cross of Jesus did provide for my salvation and the forgiveness of my sins, but it did not excuse me from walking as Jesus did and taking up my cross as well.
The Apostle Paul says in these verses that he wanted to suffer and die as Jesus did! Paul wanted to be like Jesus in His greatest act of love! The Cross of Jesus Christ was the complete revelation of His Heart of Love! Your suffering and death cannot do what the death and suffering of Jesus did, but it can make you more like Jesus and help you experience a "complete identification" with your Lord!
Your cross and the suffering associated with it are really the most precious parts of your walk with Jesus! This amazing truth does not take away the pain of your cross, but it does take away the shame! If you know Christ and the power that raised Him to life, then you will suffer and die as He did!
"Lord Jesus, may all my suffering be part of being like You. And may even my death bring glory to Your Name not mine! Praise Your Holy Name forever! Amen."