Because Easter is on April 1st, I am writing a word of encouragement rooted in the Resurrection for the month of March. It is my prayer that these words will meet you in your deepest place of need as it relates to living the life God has called you to live, by grace, through faith, in our Lord Jesus Christ.
“I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” (Philippians 3:10).
For all those who are in Christ, who was raised bodily from the grave, your redemption is designed to empower you to live a risen life. As the apostle Paul makes clear, to live for Christ is to die to self, and to die to self is to live for Christ. That beloved is the foundation upon which a risen life is to be built. And upon that foundation, there are three pillars that are designed to guide us all the way into glory.
Pillar #1 – Know Christ
The very first priority in the life of the redeemed is to know the Redeemer. Paul was spot on when he opened with, “I want to know Christ!” Can that be said about you, right now, right where this finds you? Is the deepest desire of your heart to know Christ personally and intimately? Is Jesus your first priority in life? The more we get to know Jesus through the study of the Word of God, prayer, corporate worship, and serving, the better we will get to know ourselves. And to “know thyself” is to know just how amazing God’s grace truly is. The apostle Paul knew what he was before Jesus showed up on the road to Damascus. Known as Saul, it was his personal mission to find, persecute, imprison, and even put to death anyone who was following the Way (followers of Jesus Christ). Yet, God’s amazing grace was poured out on Saul, taking him from the persecutor to pastor of the first century church, penning much of the New Testament. Saul was now Paul, and he knew he was redeemed to live a risen life that would be rooted in a personal relationship (knowing Christ), rather than a ritualistic religion.
Pillar #2 – Know the power of his Resurrection
Paul knew this power personally and he framed out what it looked like when living it out, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). A risen life rises above living for the self and begins living for the Savior. As disciples of Christ we are called to live for his goals, his purposes, his plans, and his will for our lives. Because Jesus purchases us with his precious blood, we are not our own; we have been bought at a price and now live for the One who has purchased us. Knowing the power of his Resurrection allows us to surrender our lives completely and submit to our Savior. God is the potter and we are the clay, and as he spins us on his wheel, he is molding and shaping us into the perfect image of his beloved son Jesus, all for the glory of God.
Pillar #3 – Know the fellowship of his sufferings
When Jesus said we would have trouble in this life, he meant what he said. As a pastor, I have learned we live in only one of three life phases – in the middle of a storm, coming out of a storm, or heading back into a storm. So, as disciples of Christ, we are not only to expect storm winds, we are to receive them knowing they are for our ultimate good and for his glory. Who reading this right now would expect a crown of glory on this side of the grave when our Lord received a crown of thorns? What we need to keep in view is the glory crown comes only after the gory cross. Paul knew he was called to suffer for the name of Christ, and we must embrace that truth as well if we are ever going to live a risen life.
Remember, the same power that raised Jesus from death to life is the same power that resides in you. The power of the Holy Spirit is available to you not only daily but moment by moment. The amazing grace that saved you is the same grace that is sanctifying you. God is at work in you and has promised to complete it. Along the way, look to the One who has promised to never leave nor forsake you, who is with you every step of the way. Please remember, greater is the power that is in you than any power that comes up against you. Keep dying to self and living for your Savior and God will continue supplying the increase.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that…Amen!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.