By Ellen Ceely
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:10-12 (NRSV)
Why do you follow Jesus? What are your end goals and the purpose of your faith? I love the answers fellow Christians give in response to these questions because they’re always at least slightly different.
Paul’s reason for following and becoming more like Christ is ultimately for one reason: because Jesus Christ made Paul his own. Paul doesn’t follow Jesus because he thinks he’ll gain power, glory, or any earthly treasure. Paul follows Jesus because Jesus embraced him with love so deep and powerful that Paul can’t imagine pursuing or imitating anyone else.
Often, I fool myself into thinking that following Jesus should always be easy or fun. It’s not. Paul makes that clear. Knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection comes hand in hand with sharing in his sufferings. That doesn’t mean following him should always be painful or discouraging, but there will be sacrifice.
Paul makes it clear to the Philippians that he hasn’t fully understood Christ or what it means to be saved, but he presses on because Jesus is worth it. Jesus made Paul his own, and Paul spent his days getting to know the one true God who would come down in human flesh to save his people from death and destruction. Paul doesn’t say he feels obligated to do this or that Jesus has demanded this of him. Rather, Paul indicates he presses on toward this goal because he’s so overcome by the grace and love of Christ to bring him in as Christ's own.
Going back to the beginning of our devotional today: why do you follow Jesus? What does it look like for you to know Christ and the power of his resurrection? How do you share in his sufferings and become more like him? I would encourage you to take time today to mull over these verses and thoughts. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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