That I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death. Philippians 3:10
If you marry someone, you take on the other person’s life. You adapt to your spouse’s work, sleep, and eating patterns. The more time you spend together, the more you take on each other’s personalities and preferences. Now think about that marriage union in regards to us being “in Christ.” It is a union that glues us together with Jesus and brings us multiple benefits, such as the ones listed out in Ephesians 1–being adopted, chosen, redeemed, lavished with God’s grace and being sealed by the Spirit for redemption until the end of time. May I understand and know these benefits of my salvation. Open my eyes, God.
We also get the power of His resurrection. Paul wrote about that in Ephesians 1:19 when he prayed that we would know God’s incomparably great power that rose Jesus from the dead and utilize it because that power is working for us. In Ephesians 3:20 Paul again prayed, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think according to His power that is at work in us.” May I know that power and see it at work in and through me. Show me Your power, God.
But then Paul takes a turn away from the “bless me Lord,” portion of our Christian life. It is about sharing in His sufferings and becoming like Him in His death. Oh no, wait a minute! Do I want that in this marriage union with Him? In Mark 14:50 it says that, just as Jesus was being arrested, “everyone deserted Him and fled.” Then Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:16, says the same thing: “ At my first trial no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me.” He shared in Jesus’ sufferings and death, just like he prayed.
Would you be so bold as to pray, “Lord, I want to complete my union with You by suffering for You”? That is is where we find God’s resurrection power–through death to self. John 12:24 says it: “ Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies it bears much fruit.” How do we do this? Here are a few ideas:
- Endure hardship, harsh treatment, rejection and scorn for the sake of Jesus’ name. Don’t stay silent because you might get grief for it. Do this joyfully and willingly.
- Die daily, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31. Die to flesh, die to self, die to your own ambitions and agenda, die to self absorption and self promotion–and then present yourself to God to live for Him, humbly seeking His will each day, and obeying HIs voice.
- In Luke 23:18 the crowd yelled out “Give us Barabbas!” in exchange for Jesus. Yell out each day to God, “Give me Jesus!” Don’t exchange the hard way for the easy one.
Work Your death in me, O God that I might know your life.