I Want to Know Christ and the Power of His Resurrection…

“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…” Phillipians 3:10

This verse has been my prayer for nearly forty years, but not always in its entirety. At first I was most focused on “I want to know Christ.” Really, truly know Him. Deeply, personally, intimately. I want His desires and His passions to become mine. I want to “know” Him so well that I will live and breathe Him with every step I take in this life.

I can never know Jesus enough. There is so much to learn. I want to love Him more deeply and continue to grow in Him so that I will become more like Him in all my thoughts, words, and actions. So many things in life throw up roadblocks to getting closer to Him, but I need to press on. Through His power I can level them.

Eventually my longing turned also towards the second part of this verse: “I want to know… the power of His resurrection.” To be imbued with that power of Christ that can rise from the dead, to be so enfused and fired up with Christ’s power in me that I will live for Him with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. That I will live in and through Christ and His power with every fiber of my being.

I cannot even imagine what would have happened if Christ had remained in the grave. My sins would have been buried with Him, but where would be the freedom? The joy in being released from the captivity of death? How I rejoice in the POWER of His resurrection!

But what is the third request in this verse? “I want to know… the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” My heart says, “NO! NO! NO! I don’t WANT any more sufferings…” I just can’t wrap my mind around this one. And yet I have learned that it is through sufferings that I have learned the most about Christ. It is through sufferings that I learn to be more like Him. It is through sufferings that I experience more of the power of His resurrection. Still… it’s really tough to pray this part…

There are times when I pray that God will use whatever is necessary to make me more like Him, but then later I sometimes have to cry, “O God, I do want to know You more and be more like You, but now I’m almost sorry I asked… Does it really have to be through such a painful way?” Then again I have to lay my heart and my life down at His feet and sigh, “Yes, Lord, I am Your child, and I know that in order to be more like You, I must also know more what it is like to share in Your sufferings.” Then I scold myself for complaining, because God loves me so deeply and unconditionally and He will never allow anything to happen in my life that will not draw me into a more personal relationship with Him and nudge me more into living in and through the power of His resurrection. And no matter what kind of sufferings I go through in this life, it will never, ever be even a speck of what Jesus has suffered for me to free me from all my sins. What body, mind, and soul anguish He endured! Wow! Such incomprehensible love!

So, ok, God, if I may learn to praise You more, to be more like Jesus, to live in and through Your power, then I will try more to pray also to know more of Your sufferings. Thank You so much for Your unselfish love and all-sufficient grace and unending compassion! Please bless those who read this. Bless them with the POWER of Your resurrection! Give them to know You more personally and intimately. And if it must happen through knowing more of what it is to suffer, then strengthen them to remember that the suffering we endure here will never compare to the glory You have in store for us. AMEN!

HAVE A POWERFULLY BLESSED EASTER! 

Search for Significance

 

“God doesn’t really care about me. I’m unlovable and worthless. If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.” Do you ever feel like this? Do you feel alone and unloved?

Whether or not we are aware of it, we all search for significance in this life. We want to believe our lives have value and purpose. We want to believe someone loves us and cares about us.

I am reading Robert S. McGee’s The Search for Significance, and I’d like to share with you some truths he shares:

  • Those hopeless thoughts I started out this post with are misperceptions. If we feel this way, we need God’s light to penetrate our deepest beliefs about ourselves.
  • We will never find lasting, fulfilling peace if we continually try to prove ourselves to others.
  • “Christ’s death is the most overwhelming evidence of God’s love for us.”
  • If our worth is based on the fickle approval of others, our behavior will reflect insecurity, fear, and anger. But if our worth is solidly based on God’s truths, we will reflect His love, grace, and power.
  • “Christ is the source of our security; Christ is the basis of our worth; Christ is the only one who promises and never fails.”
  • We are totally accepted by God (Colossians 1:21-22) and deeply loved by God (I John 4:9-10).
  • Satan shackles us with misperceptions of our worth to keep us from experiencing the love, freedom, and purposes of Christ.
  • Our fear of failure robs us of the joy and peace our salvation is meant to bring.
  • Avoiding risks limits our creativity and service to God.
  • In His great love, God allows us to experience seemingly negative circumstances so we can learn valuable, life-changing truths.
  • “As we grow in our understanding of His (God’s) unconditional love and acceptance, we will be better able to grasp that His discipline is prompted by care, not cruelty.”
  • “Many misguided preachers have used rejection and guilt as a forceful means of motivation. They expound upon our weaknesses, our failures, our unworthiness, and our inability to measure up to Christ’s high standards. Not only is our performance declared unworthy, but we are left feeling denounced, devalued, and devastated. As a result, thousands who have been broken by this rejection have left the church without understanding Christ’s accepting, unconditional love, a love that never uses condemnation to correct behavior.”
  • Dependence on others for value and approval will only bring bondage, but abiding in Christ’s love and acceptance brings freedom.
  • “Healthy relationships encourage individuality rather than conformity…”

I have read six chapters, and this list of truths is by no means exhausted. Further chapters include:

  • The Blame Game
  • God’s Answer: Propitiation
  • Shame
  • God’s Answer: Regeneration
  • Agent of Change
  • Guilt Versus Conviction
  • The Trip In

After I finish this book, I hope to further challenge myself with The Search for Significance Devotional Journal: A 60-day Journey to Discovering Your True Worth. It’s not always easy for us to search into our hearts and be honest with ourselves, but as Robert S. McGee writes, “The Lord desires truth and honesty at the deepest level and wants us to experience His love, forgiveness, and power in all areas of our lives.”

It’s an ongoing process of discovery, and I still sometimes feel so worthless and unlovable. I have to continually remind myself that those negative voices are not true. I have to purposely focus on what God says is true. What is true? “God is love.” (I John 4:16) What people have said or done to us does not define us, no matter how deeply it has rooted itself into our hearts. God does care, and we are worth loving.