No...Not the Suffering!
I know it...but I don’t like it! It’s still true though, regardless of how I feel about it. I can’t escape the fact that in order to really know Christ...that I must suffer. Yes, I admit it...I have to suffer!
One of my favorite passages of scriptures is Philippians 3:7-11 it says:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
My favorite part of this passage, notice I said “part” is in verse 10 where it says, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection” now that’s the part I can quote! I love the fact that through knowing Christ, I can also know the power of His resurrection. This resurrecting power has changed my life! It has brought to life dead relationships, finances, dreams, and health just to mention a few. Where would I be without the resurrecting power of Jesus in my life!
But then there is that other part...yes the one about participating in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...that I don’t quote so easily. Why is that? What don’t I get about there being no resurrection power without the participation in his suffering and death?
As God begins to show me why I cannot fully embrace the power of Christ’s resurrection without fully embracing in his suffering and death, I am humbled. Humbled because I wanted the gift without the giver. Humbled because I want the glory without the grief. How can I say that I serve a risen Savior without acknowledging the fact that he suffered and died for me.
I am reflecting on the importance of me recognizing both the dying and the resurrecting in my walk with Jesus. Like this passage says, some of the things I have needed to die to, I considered garbage anyway, so it was a little easier to die to things that were rotten and of no use to me. But I still struggle with those things that my heart hasn’t quite counted as garbage even though I can see that it clearly needs throwing away. Things like pride and wanting to have my own way. Definitely garbage!
The truth of God’s word in my spirit keeps reminding me that the new creature in me can only be revealed when the old one dies. In every aspect of my life, I must participate with Christ in his suffering and death so that I, like him, can have the power and life that can only be attained through him. I still don’t like it...but I am willing to surrender...each part of my life...that needs to die...so that the new resurrected me...lives in the power of the Christ who lives and reigns in me.