I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
This is one of my favorite verses. It’s so rich and full of truth. Not long ago this passage began to weigh heavily on my heart. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I thought about it over and over. God does this to me when He wants to instill a new truth in my heart or take me to a new level of understanding. Sometimes, in fact, He literally “wears me out” and “hounds” me with the Word until I get desperate, almost to the point of obsessing over it. That is where I was with this passage a few months ago.
Let’s start at the beginning. I want to know Christ … what does that mean? It is certainly NOT a head knowledge of our Lord Jesus, but rather a deep, intimate heart knowledge of Him … an intimate knowing, believing and understanding of Him. Part of that knowing Him is found in understanding the power of His resurrection. Let’s park here for a moment. The power of His resurrection – I really want to know how to tap into that. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 1:19 that this resurrection power is available to us as believers. So … if I have this power available to me (in fact, it is actually living in me through the Holy Spirit), why can’t I use this power to its fullest potential all the time? I mean, I do have it. I know that it’s there, and I use it sometimes, but how do I make it a “way of life” for me on a deeper level?
Let’s apply this to a common struggle. There are times in my life when I struggle with a lack of patience. Sometimes I have a short fuse. I also have three beautiful children (who are indeed children and do things that most children do!). At times I am easily angered and frequently become irritated with them because they are not “cooperating” and doing as I want them to (can you relate?). My question then is this: If I have this resurrection power within me, how can I control my temper and lack of patience (as Christ would) using this awesome power tool that God has given me?
I believe the answer is in the next phrase of this passage – the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings becoming like him in his death … I must surrender. I must die to my self and what I want. I must so share in Christ’s actual death that there is nothing left of me except that which Jesus Christ sees fit to keep … and He probably won’t keep much!
So, practically speaking, what does that look like, and how do I attain it? How do I live that out? I certainly can’t do it on my own – it’s too hard. I have habits and tendencies and behaviors that I have nursed for over 40 years, and it will take much relearning and retraining on my part and on the part of Jesus to “undo” that which is so ingrained.
The first step, though, is surrender. I have to hold up the white flag and say to the Lord, “I give up! I can’t do this!” There is nothing in me that can make this happen. “Crucify me, Lord!” Literally, kill my ugly flesh and make me beautiful like you. Take my impatience and my irritation and my selfishness and my harsh tone and my yelling and kill it all NOW in the mighty name of Jesus. Kill it! Bury it, and don’t allow me or Satan to dig it up again. And every time I feel this sin (because that is what it is-sin) rising up in me like a pot boiling over, remind me of this verse: “I am crucified with Christ, therefore, I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Okay, I know what you’re thinking … “but what CAN I do besides quote Scripture and die to self?” The most important thing you and I can do is pray! A sin or stronghold like this can be overcome only through submitting to God through prayer. Prayerlessness is an indication of pride (we think we can do it on our own!). Prayerfulness will indicate the opposite – I can’t do this on my own, and I need Your help, God!
I will slip up, I will fail (I’m human) but little by little, day by day, my precious Lord Jesus will change me into His glorious likeness. It will hurt. I will struggle. It will strip away pride and other ugly sins, but it will ultimately make me a better mother, a better wife, a better daughter, a better friend, a better example for His Kingdom … and it will make me a more radiant bride fit for my King, Jesus.
Let’s recap the steps to living in resurrection power:
In all of this, believe what God’s Word says when you are tempted to give up this hard task: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” When we are weak, He is strong. When we are surrendered, He is in control. Our hands are up. They are not trying to fix or do; they are raised in true acknowledgment that God and God alone is in control. This picture of submission shows our realization that God is working and is fully capable of handling us on his own. Resurrection power is attainable through surrender. Don’t simply be
self-controlled; be God-controlled! That, my sister, IS the “ultimate power tool!”
Jacqueline Heider is the Director of Women’s Ministry,
Prayer & Resource Specialist at Warren Baptist Church.
Visit her blog for more encouragement.