October 12, 2020. Day 286: Becoming like him in his death.

Philippians 3:10. that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Do you remember Jesus’ Passion Week? Let’s review:

  • Thursday: Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples in the upper room. He serves them by washing their feet, and he commands them to love each other just as he loves them.
  • Friday: Jesus demonstrates what pure, unconditional love is as he goes to the cross, dying in our place, for our sins.
  • Saturday: Love is hidden from view as Jesus’ body is in the tomb. The disciples live in longing for answers. But unseen, Christ’s spirit enters the heavenly tabernacle presenting his life as the sacrifice for sins.
  • Sunday: Jesus is alive! Christ resurrects from the grave bringing hope, peace, and love back to humanity.

So we can see this Passion Week progression: Service – Death – Desire – Resurrection Life.

Just as Christ’s work on Earth brought him from death into life, so too our union with Christ brings us into the resurrection life of God. Now God’s perfect will and glorious grace has granted to us all that is Christ’s . Every blessing. Every inheritance. Every right and privilege and honor. All glory is ours to share in him. Amen!

But what we often fail to see is that we were not resurrected with Christ to stay in the garden, like Mary, clinging to Jesus’ feet, refusing to let go. Reveling in his glory. Holding on until the final resurrection. We were not resurrected in order to embrace the glory and honor of this life. We were not resurrected spiritually with Jesus so that we could gain the “blessings” of this world. The prosperity. Our “best life now.”

Paul explains this vital gospel truth to us in Philippians 3:10. Our union with Christ’s resurrection power, as we know it more and more, allows us to share in the sufferings of Christ, and to be conformed to him in his death.

And so here is the progression of the Christian life: Resurrection Life – Desire – Death – Service. The Passion Week in reverse.

  • Our Spiritual Sunday: We have been granted the hope of eternal life, love, and goodness. This is power that can never be taken away. The power of knowing all your sins are cleansed, and your future is safe and secure in God’s love and grace.
  • Our Spiritual Saturday: Christ’s resurrection power in us allows us to walk by faith, not seeing the Christ that intercedes for us, yet loving him and trusting him. The hiddenness of God as we wait for Christ’s return, reveals what our hearts truly long for. Resurrection power, hope, and love allows us to confront these desires and unmet longings honestly, even when these longings reveal indwelling sin.
  • Our spiritual Friday: Christ’s resurrection power at work within the reality of this “Suffering Saturday” allows us to put to death, to crucify the desires of the flesh. By taking up our cross daily, we can replace all sinful desires, self-righteous schemes, and God-substitutes with the greater joy of knowing Jesus. Our friend. Our brother. Our captain. Our king.
  • Our spiritual Thursday: Now that resurrection power has brought us back to the cross, to self-sacrifice, we can be the servants that we were created to be. The foot washers. The lovers of others. As we watch the self die a slow painful death on the cross, we are transformed into the ones that, by God’s grace alone, transform the world around us with kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness, and the undefeatable power of love.

Why have we been resurrected? So that we might be conformed to Christ’s death. Is that how you see your life in Christ? Becoming like the dying Christ by the power of the living Christ? Would others be able to spot the evidence of this in your life? Could they see you giving up your own agenda and interests FROM resurrection power (not just a martyr complex)? Might others see you embracing suffering as shared suffering with Jesus (not just a guilt trip)?

To embrace union with Christ is to walk backwards through Jesus’ passion. From resurrection power to the revelation of desires within the darkness of this life. From selfish desires to the death of the self. From the death of the self to the service of others. Knowing Christ’s resurrection power through the fellowship of suffering and the likeness of his death. This is “to live is Christ.”

You

Can you see yourself in Philippians 3:10? Have you ever said what Paul is saying here?

You in Christ

How doe sharing resurrection power in Christ allow us to embrace the likeness of his suffering and death?

Christ in you

Where in your day today might you embrace the shared suffering of Christ in loving others?

Playlist: Like him in his death.

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