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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Becoming Like Him in His Death

One of my greatest professions over my wife is that she is able to enjoy the fruits of all her earthly labors throughout the years of raising our family, home schooling our four kids, filling them with a love for Papa God and a hunger for the truth of His Word, always putting the kids needs before hers, and her steadfastness in her co-management of the strict financial budget that a family of six demands.  Now that the kids are all married and successfully out on their own and the family demands have been relieved, I would like her to enjoy being free of the little notebook she carried to write down what she purchased in the grocery store so she would know the final totals at the cashiers booth.
It would bless me beyond measure for her to be able to go out and purchase those new shoes she always desired but opted not to get so that the kids could have another school project to work on, or the soccer equipment or ballet outfits they needed when they were young.  Almost every time we go to a store here in North Carolina, I find myself glancing over at the women’s clothing and accessories departments and seeing things that she’d look cute wearing!  For a while there I gave in to the point that she now has a number of new coats, hats and hoodies that she has yet to wear!
I feel like she deserves it after all the selfless work and effort she put in!  She even deserves for me to let go of my lack of affection for Mexican food and “Man Up!” and take her out… whenever and wherever she wants to go… to some Mexican restaurants… with a smile on my face!  She’s put in the time, gone beyond what is expected and should reap the rewards of her diligence and passion for her responsibilities to “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)
I thought about all this earlier today as I continued to study from Philippians 3:9-10 where Paul talks about what it means to have a close relationship with Christ.  He declared: “I have God’s approval through faith in Christ.  This is the approval that comes from God and is based on faith that (intimately) knows Christ.  Faith (that) knows the power of his resurrection and what it means to share in his sufferings and becoming like him in his death.” (God’s Word ©/ESV)
I suddenly stopped when I came to the end of these verses and began to ponder the question of “Where is He and what is He doing now that He is dead?  What is He doing as a reward of all the effort and time and suffering He put in for us while on this earth?”  Then I noticed that Paul just might have been connecting the “power of His resurrection” with our “becoming like him in his death.”  That light puts a whole new perspective on the meaning of this verse!
First of all we know that Jesus isn’t dead anymore for he rose from the dead on the third day after being in the tomb.  Ephesians 2:6 and Hebrews 12:2 tell us that He is now seated in the heavenly places at the right hand of God.  Hebrews 2:17 and 8:1 explain His role there acting as our “merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God…” (KJV)  In Ephesians Paul goes on to explain what that means to us in that He “has raised us up together (with Christ) and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” (MKJV)
When you put those truths together with the thought of “becoming like him in his death” you can’t help but want to stand up and shout!  The Apostle John agrees with Paul’s theology in I John 4:17 stating that “as He is, so also we are in this world.”  Think about that for a few moments…  It would seem that these men who spent three years in close intimate proximity with Jesus, who sat at His feet in His public teachings and private explanations to them following those times, knew that Jesus was declaring the authority and power that He wanted His followers to have in His name through the truth of His Word. (Also see Jesus’ concluding words to His followers in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-20)
Is this the way that you look at and live your life as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Are you fully reaping the rewards of what Jesus did for you?  I am continually reminded of my wife’s words that she emphatically would declare to me and the kids whenever we came across a seemingly hopeless situation.  She would look us square in the face and lovingly remind us that “We are believers NOT beggars!”  In essence she was encouraging us to act like Jesus in the situation at hand.  To take the authority that He has given to us, act in faith on His Word and thereby allow Him the opportunity to act in His High Priestly role by “working with (them) and confirming the word with signs following.”* 
I too therefore encourage you to think about all this as we meditate on and rejoice in the events leading up to and including the resurrection of Jesus on this Easter Sunday.  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whose authority am I expecting to live in today?”


*Note that the word “them” is not in the original but was added by the translators of the KJV.

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