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. Philippians 3:10 NLT
Have you ever liked one part of a verse and wanted to discard the other because it seems too challenging? I just read that Thomas Jefferson cut out all sections of his Bible in the gospels that talked about Jesus, His life, His teachings, miracles, everything because he wanted to make Jesus like himself. And if he cut out the deity of Christ, then "He was just a man." Rather sad.
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally,
experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering, and go
all the way with Him to death itself. Philippians 3:10 MSG
I want to know God’s power. And definitely want to experience it. I have experienced it in the past and have been awed by His massive strength, wisdom, Sovereignty and power. I want it all the more. The power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is living in me (Romans 8:11). That power is the Holy Spirit. So, by knowing the Spirit, then I know the power of God.
SEEKING TO KNOW
How can I know the Spirit? By living according to the Word, walking daily with Christ, talking with God, striving to please Him, seeking Him and His righteousness above all things and not satisfying the lusts of the flesh. All of this takes work and is at times not easy, but to know God and His resurrection power, I have got to do it. I have got to die to self and live to Christ.
Ok, first part of Philippians 3:10 is figured out.
But what about section two? Do I really want to fellowship in Christ’s sufferings? Fellowship means to hang out, get to know, share life. Do we know what He went through? I can read in my Bible of the horrors, but there is no other senses given – smell, sound, visual. I can imagine the scenes, but my imagination is limited at best. When the tough gets going, usually this chick goes right along with it. Not all the time, but I have. However, I want to stick around and experience and know Christ’s suffering – whatever that looks like for me and whatever God wants me to know.
I guess for me it boils down to being willing.
Having had suffering in my life for years now (!!!!) I can honestly say I do not like it any more than when I first encountered it. Not one iota more. Suffering is suffering and it is usually accompanied by pain. Not great and not a great selling feature. However, when I read of Christ in the Garden, He was willing. Yes, He was in agony – He sweat drops of blood. He poured out Himself to His Father. But more than that –
“Abba Father,” He cried out, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36 NLT
If I were to be honest, I run from these words, not run toward them. These are words very intimate between a Father and a Son and they are filled with anguish. Yet they are recorded for us to see, read, digest and do. We are to have the same attitude as Christ (this verse gets me every single time!!!). So, it includes laying down my will like Christ did. Willingly.
I think this is it folks. To know the power of Christ’s resurrection and to be able to partake in Christ’s sufferings is submission and willingness on my part. Why does it always involve submission? You know, for the truly serious stuff? How do I keep from wailing right now as I type this? I say I want to know, but do I really want to know? It involves dying to self, willingness to that death and suffering. Tall order.
Yet, Christ even said it in the Garden, “All things are possible with the Father.” That literally means all things. For His life, mine, and yours.
But it also is a choice.
I can walk away at any moment or not engage at all. I can push in just as easily as pull out. My brain is wired to take the path of least resistance and for me I choose Easy Street every time. I mean who wants to go on Suffering Road, Pain Highway, Misunderstood Lane? Not me. I would rather live on a deserted island with my family than go for a drive through that neighborhood.
And yet. It is directly where God lives. He is there. He is moving. His Son is there with His nail-pierced hands stretched out waiting for me to come home and rest in Him.
Be silent before the LORD, all humanity, for He is springing into action
from His holy dwelling. Zechariah 2:13 NLT
Is it just me who has tears streaming down her face as I type this? God, Himself, is springing into action on my behalf. I take that to mean – in the context of this blog – that when I finally (and I mean finally) die to self, willingly submit, stay silent, and walk in the neighborhood of God’s dwelling, then I will know the power of Christ’s resurrection (His Holy Spirit) and will know Christ’s sufferings. I will get it. Understand it without a shadow of a doubt that God is here, He is for me and He is Sovereign over my life. That’s who He was with Jesus in the Garden and that is who He is with me. He never changes. God is the same.
Yes, I want to know Jesus. More than anything I want to know.
Abba Father, Jesus called You by this name, so I dare to do the same. You are worth knowing. Everything about You, I want to know. Shaken down, pressed together. Everything. Please be patient with me in the knowing process. I want to savor every moment. I want to be in the moment, linger and walk away changed. Because I have been in the Garden, willingly submitting my will to Yours. AMEN