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The Surpassing Greatness of Knowing Christ … Becoming Like Him

I want to know Christ…becoming like him in his death.
Philippians 3:10

As my seasoned pastor friend Paul Powell wisely said, “I want to live as long as I live.” Like the apostle Paul, he has a thorn in his side; but that’s not stopping him. Like the apostle Paul, he will give it his all exactly as Jesus did till the very end. Seems to me, that’s what it means—becoming like Christ in His death.

You see, the apostle Paul knew it would be a pleasure to see Jesus face-to-face: to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). But he’s talking to his Philippian friends about living rather than dying: it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body (Philippians 1:24). He’d live till he died, as Jesus lived till He died: to live is Christ (1:21).

How does one become that resolute? There are two intertwining statements of Jesus which should propel you and me in the direction of becoming like him in his death.

The first, as He predicted His death for the first time: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

The second, as He agonized in Gethsemane: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

The standard for living as Christ was set. To follow Him, the apostles—you and I—we must deny ourselves daily. It is obvious that Jesus denied Himself the rights and privileges of deity from birth all the way to His death.

And, to get to the cross, to do the job He’d come to do, Jesus had to drink the cup of redemption. He had to make the conscious choice to do the will of the Father, even if it tore Him apart, body and soul. My choice then is to do the will of God daily. That is how I can deliberately follow Jesus, pointing others to the cross.

The bonus: intimacy will blossom as I get in step with Jesus every morning, seeking and doing God’s will. As long as I live, I want to live.

Nancy P

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