Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Knowing Him in Resurrection Power

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11 NASV
At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, 2 Timothy 4:16-17b NASV

I can only imagine the hurt that the Apostle must have felt as he realized his fellow believers were leaving him to face persecution alone. But there was One who stood with him. One who knew how it felt to be deserted by beloved friends in His greatest hour of need. Paul wanted to know Jesus so intimately that he said he wanted to know not only the power of His resurrection but also the fellowship of His sufferings. Paul was experiencing what Jesus did when His disciples fled at His arrest. They were more concerned with their own well-being than their loyalty to the One who had walked beside them, taught them, and loved them until the end. Paul is reflecting His Savior’s heart when he desired that his own friend’s disloyalty and desertion not be counted against them. Paul knew that the power of Jesus resurrection was to be experienced in the here and now as we die to our old way of living and reacting. As we put on the Lord Jesus Christ we find ourselves bowing down to His Spirit within us. We are supplied with the grace to walk through hard and challenging times exhibiting the fruit of His Spirit.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the story of The Hiding Place about the Ten Boom family. Two of the sisters were sent to a concentration camp for hiding Jews in their home during WWII. Corrie and Betsy were in their 50’s. They were godly women who served the Lord with gladness and had never married. When they got to the camp the Germans made all the women strip down naked and walk past many soldiers as they were given prison uniforms. They felt totally humiliated and exposed. As they stood under the smirking and cruel gaze of the soldiers Betsy leaned forward and whispered to her sister, “Oh Corrie, Jesus hung naked on the cross. He knows how we feel.”

Very few of us will suffer what the Apostle Paul or the Ten Booms went through, but we will suffer in a fallen world. We always have a choice. Will we waste our sorrows or will we allow the Lord’s resurrection power to flow through us and exhibit His life within us? Will we rest in the comfort that He knows how it feels? Will we share in some small measure what He felt? This may seem a little heavy for a devotional, but I believe with all my heart that God wants us to experience Him and He wants those in our world to experience Him in us. We will go through rough times one way or the other. I want to let Him use it to make me more like Him and in your heart, so do you.

MY PRAYER: Lord, I do want to know you. I want to know your great heart. Help me to remember in the middle of trials, temptations, irritations, and the disappointments with friends and family that you know how I feel. I won’t get it right every time, but I do want to grow and not waste my sorrows. Produce the fruit of Your Spirit in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: Lord, even if I feel deserted and unsupported I know that you will stand with me and strengthen me. I have the same Spirit resident in me that raised you from the dead. I stand on your Word!

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