There’s an incredible thought found in Philippians 3:10 which says, “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings…” Reread that and let it soak in for a minute. Think about how astonishing it is for Paul to say that!
The first part isn’t too crazy – he wants to know the power of the resurrection. As inconceivable as that concept is, it makes sense to want the same power of God that raised your Savior from the dead! However, the perplexing part comes in when Paul says that he not only wants that, but he wants the privilege of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. [And a hush fell over the crowd]
I mean, that’s unmistakable devotion. It reminds me of a beautiful part of wedding vows that highlights the couple’s commitment to each other which says, “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…” That’s not a light concept. “Lord, if you revel in glory, then I want to revel in glory! But if you also suffered and were humiliated, then I want that too!”
If you have lofty dreams about all that a relationship with Christ will bring you, you’re absolutely correct. The gift of salvation is completely free, and provides the follower of Jesus with peace, security, purpose, and joy. But if you think following Christ won’t cost you something, you really need to take another look (Luke 14:25-35).
I often wonder about people’s expectations when they choose to follow Christ. Are most expecting an easy life now? A life that is painless, free of temptation, and only full of daily blessings? We have to fight against this mindset and help others do the same by looking fully at the example of Jesus. AND I don’t think this is a one-time battle.
I find it helpful to have periodic checkpoints in my life where I pray that God would help me steer away from shortcuts, but that I would count the cost and be willing to pay it in full. I don’t want to become lazy with what God wants me to be a good steward of, meaning I don’t want to lack prayer because I simply want the blessings of someone else who prayed. I don’t want to be content to not put in the hard work, but only reap the benefits of others who did.
Shortcuts are devastating in almost every area of life, but especially in the Christian life. So its best to take any notions of earthly entitlement that you have and throw it away. Honoring the Lord will result in the power of Christ being IN you, but it will also result in your willingness to lay down your life if that’s what it takes. You get the striking honor of having both, the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. I hope you’re able to embrace both with the same passion that Paul did.