What now seems like a lifetime ago, shortly after giving my life to Christ, as I was reading through the entire Bible for the very first time I came across these 2 verses. “Jumping off” of the page towards me, they greatly touched my heart and spirit! I decided then and there Philippians 3:10-11 was going to be for me, what I heard long time believers refer to as, a “life verse”.
I was so impacted that some years later while serving on staff at Sharpsburg Family Worship Center, I wrote these verses out in black magic marker on the plywood floor, before the new carpet was to be laid, marking the spot where I stood on the platform leading Praise and Worship every Sunday morning.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking… “Aren’t those 2 verses kinda peculiar for a new believer to take on as life verses? I mean, I can maybe understand the know, power and fellowship parts but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around why you’d be endeared to the death, resurrection and dead parts”. As I look back now I’d say to you, I was just hungry for more of the Lord knowing that in fellowship with God, through friendship with Christ and in relationship with the Holy Spirit, I would somehow begin grasping a portion of what God was revealing to me through His Word….
I want to know Christ…We should not just want to know about Jesus but really want to know Him; to the point we’re gaining a practical day-by-day acquaintance with Jesus. Know Him in such an intimate way that we would become more Christ-like. That the life of Jesus would be reproduced in us, that we would be the best reflection of Christ that we can be every single day of our lives.
and the Power of His resurrection…The Holy Spirit’s power that raised Jesus from the dead is the greatest display of power the universe has ever seen! It seems that all evil was determined to keep Jesus’ body in the tomb but God, through His Holy Spirit’s power, defeated the enemy by raising Jesus from the dead on the 3rd day! As believers, realize this same Holy Spirit power that raised Jesus from the dead not only lives in us but…is with us as well! This still blows my mind!
and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings… Fellowship is relationship; friendship as 2 or more on planet earth share life’s sweet victories while encountering and overcoming sufferings or…difficulties together. While on earth fellowship with God through friendship with Christ and in relationship with the Holy Spirit makes life’s victories sweeter and is necessary when encountering and overcoming sufferings and difficulties. On earth, as Jesus was in fellowship with His Father, He encountered sufferings and difficulties. On earth, as Paul was in relationship with the Holy Spirit, he encountered sufferings and difficulties. And so, there will be times in our lives on earth we’ll encounter sufferings and difficulties as well. The good news is, as we’re in fellowship with God through friendship with Christ and in relationship with the Holy Spirit we can encounter and overcome sufferings and difficulties!
becoming like him in His death…Before knowing Christ we did and said whatever we wanted to please ourselves; we sinned, regardless of how our sin affected God and others. Becoming like Him in His death means we must die…die to pleasing ourselves…die to sin. In the Book of Romans Paul asks the rhetorical question; “Should we go on sinning?” then responds; “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1 Becoming like Him in His death means we’ve died to sin…period!
and so, somehow to attain the resurrection from the dead…Not speaking of that physical resurrection that will come one day but, I believe Paul here is speaking of a desire to live the resurrection life while still on earth. As believers God has changed our lives so by dying to sin, we’re resurrected, raised up to new life! We get a fresh start, a second chance…isn’t that fantastic!
It’s been quite some time now but, I’m thinking that today if you walked inside Sharpsburg Family Worship Center’s original church building, went up front standing at the center of the platform, bent down lifting the carpet exposing the plywood underneath…you’d see where I marked the spot with Philippians 3:10-11 written out in black magic marker in my less than stellar handwriting.
Question: In your life have you spiritually, figuratively or maybe even physically marked the spot where you’ve died to sin while in fellowship with God through friendship with Christ then, in relationship with the Holy Spirit, been resurrected; raised up to new life? Having been given a fresh start, a second chance, on this big, blue sphere we call planet earth, are you not just only encountering sufferings but are you overcoming difficulties through the Holy Spirit’s resurrection power?