Hello. Dave here. Welcome to the Foundations podcast for Tuesday 13th February. As normal, you’ll hear a thought for the day, a worship song and then the Bible verse read in full at the end.
Today’s passage is Philippians 3:7-11. Yesterday we talked about rejoicing in the Lord and how that reminds us of who we are, our identity. This is one of the major themes that runs through the whole Bible, which is why we come back to it so often. Today we’re going to look at the other major theme or question that appears, that of purpose, what we’re doing here. Let’s read verses 10 and 11. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
This is a passage I had to read slowly a few times before I started to get my head around it. Our eyes first jump to the phrase ‘power of his resurrection’. I think we can all get on board with that. Even if we don’t really know what it means, it sounds good right? Power, yes, resurrection, well it sounds a bit weird but it means life so sure why not?! The problem is the rest of the sentence, ‘participating in his sufferings’. That doesn’t sound so nice. And it doesn’t really make sense, how can we participate in something Jesus did 2000 years ago. Let’s just focus on the power bit. The problem is that when we just stick to the parts of the Bible that sound good or make sense straight away we miss out on so much.
Here’s my take on what God wants to say to us today through these two verses. First, when we encounter Jesus He deeply changes us. When we say yes to having Him in our life He comes with all his resurrection power, power over even death, and makes His home in us. He lives in us. Full time. Not just on a Sunday 10.45-12.15. And He comes with more than just warm words to make us feel better. But power to affect change in this world, the authority to be His hands and feet and partner with Him in bringing in His Kingdom. He gives us life and life in all its fullness. However, if we are to join with the eternal victory that Jesus has won, then we must also join the day to day battle. We live in a world where the war is won but the battle is still raging. Our purpose, our calling in life once we say yes to Jesus is to join Him in that everyday quest to bring in the Kingdom of God to this troubled world.
There’s no getting away from this, sometimes this is hard. Sometimes this means persecution, sometimes it means choosing to go God’s way not our own. Sometimes it means laying down our own priorities to love and bless someone else. But we do this not on our own, but with Jesus. Ultimately, bringing in the Kingdom, joining with God’s mission is all about restoring people to relationship with their loving Father. Bringing people from darkness to light is something that we simply can’t do alone, and that’s strangely comforting. This cannot be our task alone. It must be something we partner with Jesus in. That’s where the final part of the verse comes in. A reminder again that we do not earn our way into the Kingdom.As we accept our double calling of identity and purpose we receive eternal life. Not from what we do or how successful we are, but simply by saying yes to Jesus.
Thank you Father for sending Jesus that we might know you. Thank you that you don’t judge us based on how successful we are, but you invite us to step into the identity and purpose that you alone can give. Help us to be on the lookout for where we can join you in bringing in your kingdom today. Amen.
READING: PHILIPPIANS 3:7-11
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.