"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." Philippians 3:10
What would I write if I knew I was dying? Part of me wants to reject this truth... I'm 43 and in generally good health. But... the verse above says I should seek crucifixion. So, why is that so hard to accept?
It's because we're born thinking that life comes before death, and according to the Bible, true life comes after death.
Why such a morbid subject?
1. It's talked about a lot in the Bible and not a lot in the Church today. Too often our pulpits preach self-help programs and methods that carry a cancer of self-righteous, self-fulfillment and self-worship. It's time we talked more about being crucified and useful vs. un-crucified and worthless for the Kingdom.
2. It's the pattern of Scripture. Bible characters don't pick themselves up with positive thinking and self-help, (at least I can't think of one.) Instead they're broken instruments of God's grace that accomplish things they could never do. God shows the pattern of making His servants uncomfortable that they might turn to Him.
- Abraham was asked to leave what was comfortable, his home town at an old age.
- Moses thought he could be Israel's deliverer in his prime, but was put out to pasture and was only useful when he was 80.
- Daniel was taken from a comfortable royal life in Israel and made a slave to serve a pagan king.
- Ezekiel's wife was taken from him.
- Jeremiah didn't have converts.
- Peter denied the Messiah he professed... lovingly restored to usefulness
- Paul, knocked off his donkey onto his butt...
3. When trials come, we often consume our prayers with deliverance from our circumstances, and we ask our friends to pray the same. Perhaps, there is some crucifixion needed in our lives. If the aspiring athlete embraces the cruel treatment of their trainer with zeal, why can't we embrace God's Crossfit? Jesus' brother starts his letter that way.
4. Jars of clay don't make good soul winners. The treasure God has placed inside can't shine unless we're cracked. And, if we're faithful, cracked we will be to the world.
Personally, I can relate to Moses. How about you? The next time God allows or brings some crucifixion into our lives, let's know the fellowship of Christ ... and maybe, just maybe, people might see Christ in the cracks in us.