- Lesson 9 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Pure Joy” focuses on Philippians 3:1-11.
Verse 10 is a powerful and challenging verse to all believers. We want to know Christ and to know the power of his resurrection. That’s a pretty easy desire because it is clean, and we don’t have to get our hands dirty. The second part is much more difficult for Christians if they truly are honest. Do believers really have the heart to participate in the sufferings of Christ? This was Paul’s desire! He knew what Christ had gone through, the shame, humiliation, physical pain and betrayal, but still Paul wanted to share in the suffering of Christ. Paul understood identifying with Christ in this way would deepen his faith in ways he never dreamed possible. Going through sufferings as Christ did would teach him to depend on God and not on self. Seeing suffering through the eyes of Christ would forever change the way he loved and ministered to everyone he met. Paul wanted to share in that suffering even to the point of death, and that takes a great faith not many believers today possess.
In verse 11, Paul wrote about the final outcome of dying in Christ—the resurrection from the dead. Just as Christ rose from the dead, we too as Christians will rise—a spiritual resurrection when we spend eternity with God. Everything God has done through his Son Jesus Christ was to provide a way for us to spend an eternity with him and this is only possible through the resurrection in Christ.
It’s messy. Be patient.
I think too many times as Christians, we live whitewashed Christianity. We coat the outside of our lives with a thin coat of white paint so people can’t see what’s underneath. We are afraid if the world sees the real us, they will turn away and run. Churches are not made for perfect people; they are made for people that God is making perfect. Becoming like Christ is at times a messy process, but we need to be patient with God and ourselves. Over time, we can look back at what God has done and see the miracles he alone has brought about in our lives, and we can share those with other believers. God is calling you to live an authentic life. It may get messy, but it will be full of blessings.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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