In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Paul begins in chapter three by calling us to rejoice in the Lord. In verse 9-11, he calls us to die and then he calls us to know the power of Jesus’ resurrection. This is the Purpose Driven Life: Die and you shall be raised. It won’t sell many books, but this is the call of the apostle.
First, we die. We become like Christ. We know that the Advent of Christ was one of mercy and grace to others. He came as a servant. He came to bring humanity from the rubbish and the stench of Adam’s sin and make us into sweet smelling herbs and spices, a glorified and beautiful humanity to God. When we follow Him, we esteem others better than ourselves. We make meals for those who are sick and recovering, we invite people over for a movie or fellowship during the week, we call them, we send them a card, we smile when we meet, we weep with those who weep. This is all a part of dying to self, because dying to self is to make others alive in Christ.
Secondly, we desire to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. We now live out our faith in the middle of the assembly. Because you are resurrected, you join the resurrected Christ in His mission. You desire resurrected living. This means you forget your former life and former ways, you move forward. You press on toward your goal of Christ-likeness. You have been forgiven in Jesus’ Name, and now in Jesus’ Name you live the life of faithfulness. Do you want to know how to walk like Christ? Paul says look to those who do it better than you. Look to those who are walking as Christ did. Learn from them. Watch them as they imitate Christ. Watch them as they interact with their children. Learn from one another. I will never forget what Randy Booth told us in Advance Family Conference. He said that we are to be 10% more like our neighbor. Not just like him, but 10% more like our neighbor. If we have weaknesses in one area, become 10% more like your neighbor who is strong in that area. In this manner, we become like one another in the ways that reflect Christ-likeness, while maintaining our distinct personalities and gifts, which are so crucial for the well-being of the Church.
I exhort you brother and sisters, to live the life of death and to be raised into the newness of Christ’s image in the year to come. Amen.