IN DEBT to the Believer and the Unbeliever
"Both to Greeks and to barbarians
(to the cultured and the uncultured), both to the wise and to the foolish,
I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay."
Romans 1:14 (Amp

29 June 2010

"In the Likeness of His Resurrection" (Devotional)

As followers of Jesus, when we turn our back on the things of this world to be our focus and pursuit, and we're willing to "count all things as loss" (Phil 3:8) for the sake of Christ, then we can receive and experience the power of Christ's resurrected life in us to overcome and conquer all that the world and the devil throws at us. Oh, we will always have the enticements of the world, all it's material and glitter to tempt us back into its hold again, but when we continue to stay close to the cross, determined to keep our flesh and old man nailed to it, the power of Christ's resurrected life in us will keep us and propel us away from its stonghold and into the victorious life of Christ in us the hope of glory, a life that can be used in power and in blessing to the lost.
I share this chapter of the "Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ" to encourage and plant more of that passionate seed in you and in me to be and live like Jesus. With His Spirit living in us we are able. Jesus said, "those things that I did, you will do also, and greater things will you do because I go to the Father." Through His Holy Spirit He has given us His power to live and operate, to conquer and defeat, and to lead others to the Father through Him. Praise the Lord!

"In the Likeness of His Resurrection"

"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection...that like as
Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
 even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Rom 6:5,4

     Following the likeness of His death is the likenss of His resurrection. To speak only of the likenss of His death of bearing the cross, and of self-denial gives a one-sided view of following Christ. It is only the power of His resurrection that gives us strength to go on to the conformity to His death which comes as the growth of the inner life. Being dead with Christ refers to the death of the old life and to sin and the world; risen with Christ refers to the new life through which the Holy Spirit expels the old. To those who earnestly desire to walk as Christ did, the knowledge of this likeness of His resurrection is indispensable.
     We have already seen how the disciples' life before Christ's death was a life of weakness. Sin had power over the disciples, so that Christ could not give them the Holy Spirit, or do for them what He desired. Raised by the almighty power of God, His resurrection life was full of power of the Spirit. He had conquered sin and death not only for himself but for His disciples, so that He could from the first day make them partakers of His Spirit, of His joy, and of His heavenly power.
     When the Lord Jesus makes us partakers of His life, it is not the life that He had before His death but the resurrected life that He won through death. A life in which sin is already ended and put away, a life that has already conquered hell and the devil, the world and the flesh. This is the life that likeness to His resurrectioin gives us. "In that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 6:10, 11). Oh, that the Holy Spirit might reveal to us the glory of the life in the likeness of Christ's resurrection! In it we find the power for a life of conformity to Him.
     To most believers this is a mystery, and therefore their life is full of sin and weakness and defeat. They believe in Christ's resurrection as the sufficient proof of their justification. They think that He rose simply to continue His work in heaven as mediator. But that He rose that His resurrection life might now be the very power of their daily  life, they have no idea. they despair upon hearing of following Jesus fully and being conformed to His image. They cannot imagine how it can be required that they should always live like Christ. They do not know Christ in the power of His resurrection, or the mighty power with which His life now works in those who are willing to count all things but loss for His sake (Phil 3:8; Eph 1:19,20). For all who are weary of a life unlike Jesus and who desire to walk in His footsteps, there is in the Scriptures a better life than has been known. This unspeakable treasure of likeness to Christ in His resurrection is yours. Let me ask three questions.
     The first is: Are you ready to surrender your life to the rule of Jesus and His resurrection life? No doubt the contemplation of Christ's example has convinced you of sin in more than one point! In seeking your own will and glory instead of God's, in ambition and pride and selfishness and lack of love toward man, you have seen how far you are from ther obedience and humility and love of Jesus. The question is whether you will say: "If Jesus will take possession of my life, then I resign all rights or desire to have or to do my own will. I give Him my entire life with all I have to always do what He through His Word and Spirit shows me. If He will life and rule in me, I promise unbounded and hearty obedience."
     For such a surrender faith is needed: therefore the second question is: Are you prepared to believe that Jesus will take possession of the life committed to Him, and that He will rule and keep it? When the believer commits his entire spiritual and temporal life to Christ, then he learns to understand Paul's words: "I am dead; I live no more: Christ liveth in me." Dead with Christ and risen again, the living Christ in His resurrection life takes possession of and rules my life. The resurrection life is not for me to maintain. But blessed be God! Jesus Christ himself is the resurrection and the life. He himself will daily and hourly see to it and insure that I live as one who is risen with Him. He does it through that Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of His risen life. The Holy Spirit is in us and will, if we trust Jesus for it, maintain within us the presence and power of the risen Lord. We need not fear that we never can succeed in leading such a holy life. We are indeed not able. But it is not required of us. The living Jesus, who is the resurrection, has shown His power over all our enemies. He who so loves us will work it in us. He gives the Holy Spirit as our power, and He will perform His work in us with divine faithfulness if we will only trust Him. Christ himself is our life.
     And now comes the third question: Are you ready to use this resurrected life for the same purpose that God gave it to Christ, as a power and blessing to the lost? If we are only seeking our own perfection and happiness, it will fail. God raised up and exalted Jesus to give repentance and remission of sins. He ever lives to pray for sinners. Yield yourself to receive His resurrection life with the same aim. Give yourself wholly to working and praying for the perishing, then you will become an instrument in which the resurrection life can dwell and work out its glorious purposes.
     Your calling is to live like Christ. To this end you have been made one with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. Are you willing to surrender your whole life that He may manifest that resurrection power in every part of it? I pray you do not draw back. Offer yourself unreservedly to Him, with all your weakness and unfaithfulness. Believe that as His resurrection was a wonder above all thought and expectation, so He as the risen One will work in you exceeding abundantly above all you could think or desire.
     What a difference there was in the life of the disciples before Jesus death and after His resurrection.! Then all was weakness and fear, self and sin: with the resurrection all was power and joy, life and love, and glory. Just as great a change will come when a believer discovers how the risen One will himself be his life and take on himself the responsibility for the whole of that life. If you are troubles and weary because of a lack of power to walk like Christ, come and taste the blessedness of giving your whole life to the risen Savior in the assurance that He will live it in you.

     O Lord, my soul adores You as the prince of Life! On the cross You conquered each of my enemies: the devil, the flesh, the world, and sin. As conqueror, You rose to manifest and maintain the power of Your risen life in Your people. You made them one with Yourself in the likeness of Your resurrection; now You will live in them, and show forth in their earthly life the power of Your heavenly life.
     Praise to Your name for this wonderful grace. Blessed Lord, I come at Your invitation to offer and surrender my life, with all it implies. I have striven in my own strength to live like You, and not succeeded. The more I sought to walk like You, the deeper was my disappointment. I have heard of how blessed it is to cast all care and responsibility for my life on You. Lord, I am risen with You, one with You in the likeness of Your resurrection. Come and take me entirely and be my life.
     Above all, O risen Lord, reveal Yourself to me as You did to Your first disciples in the power of Your resurrection. It was not enough that after Your resurrection You appreared to Your disciples; they did not know You until You made Yourself known to them. Lord Jesus, I believe in You; be pleased to make Yourself known to me as my life. It is Your work; You alone can do it. I trust You for it. And so my resurrection life shall be a continual source of light and blessing to all who are needing You. Amen

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