Living A Resurrected Life
As Christians, we know and believe that Christ conquered sin and death through his resurrection, after which he was transfigured and returned to Heaven, making way for the Holy Spirit’s arrival. This knowledge and belief assure us that when we experience physical death, we will join Christ in Heaven. That’s all good, as far as it goes.
One of the beliefs that has grown out of this belief is that Heaven can only be achieved through death. As a result, many Christians, through belief, thought, and even intent, have unknowingly made dying their goal in life, as it is viewed as the gateway to eternal bliss. Anyone who is familiar with old time gospel music will know that this belief has long been a part of Christian thought.
Yet we are encouraged to live a resurrected life now. We understand this to mean living a Christ-like life as a believer. For most of us, what we really mean is “I’ll give it my best try but I’m human, so I am a sinner. But I’m going to give it my best go and lean on God’s grace for the rest.” Paul tells us otherwise, that it is possible and in fact the believer’s purpose to live a resurrected life in our current experience.
“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 3:10-12 (ESV)
Here, Paul says he presses on, pursuing the power of the resurrected life to make it real in present tense. And that, I believe, is the calling for every believer of Christ’s victory. Yes, Heaven is awesome, but we do not have to wait until we are there to experience it. Chris Carter puts it nicely with his simple statement: “Humanity isn’t the problem. Humanity is the solution.” He means, of course, a humanity that is living a resurrected life in Christ. Imagine what that life will be like and what the world will be like when this is realized. No wonder all of creation is groaning, waiting for God’s sons to mature and manifest his power and character on earth! We are responsible for the condition of our world and existence. God rules, but he entrusts the administration of his rule to us. Are you humbled yet? I know I am.
How do we do this? How do we live lives that not only honor God but also manifest his power and character? The secret is in living Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed lives, engaging and being led by the Holy Spirit which allows God’s power and character to then be manifested in our natural world and experience. Often, what prevents us from being successful in this is trying to do it while in our natural state, including all its limitations. When we live our lives in spiritual oneness with God and Jesus (John 17:21-23), however, we see and hear God’s will directly (John 5:19) and can then administrate it into the earth as we walk through our daily lives. How, you ask? We administrate through our thought, speech, action, and faith, and their influence on the world and people around us. We administrate by being intentional and strategic as we live lives that magnify God.
How can we recognize such a Spirit-led life of oneness with God? I am sure there is a long list, and I am sure someone has made a deep study of the subject. I have not, but I do believe there are certain characteristics that are hallmarks of the resurrected life. We must love Jesus. It was he who purchased our freedom with his own blood, and it is he we must seek to imitate in every area of life. That means following after his own sacrifice by dying to ourselves and desiring the things of Heaven more than those of earth, including resisting temptations to elevate ourselves and chase after the counterfeit baubles of a corrupted world. To give us the strength to do this, we must know our Creator and Savior intimately. Intimacy requires desire, intent, and time to grow and mature. We nurture intimacy by spending time in God’s Word, pursuing God’s heart and a real relationship with him through worship, prayer, and surrender. As these become intensely real to us, we step through the veil and into God’s presence, and enter the inner chamber of intimacy with the Holy. These cannot be religious goals or a set of daily practices because they are good things to do or because they have become habits. They must come from a heart aching with desire for them and filled with intent to pursue them until they are captured. We will know we are successful when God fills us with unshakable love for this broken world and its peoples, when our faith confirms the Creator’s intent despite the evidence we see today, when we ache for his intent’s perfection, and when our faith refuses to deny its reality.
I am one who was raised in church life, who believed being a good Christian meant knowing about God and trying to live my best life. I failed often, sometimes miserably. A few years ago, my life changed radically and suddenly. I no longer want to just know about him, I want to know him so intimately that my heart knows the desires of his heart and to walk Paul’s path, to “press on to make it my own, because Christ has made me his own.” I am a long way from realizing what God desires of me, but I am on the journey.
How about you? Are you pursuing God’s heart with all of yours, or are you treading water in a lukewarm sea of comfort? Are you willing to step out of religious habits to engage Heaven on its terms? Are you willing to follow Paul’s path, surrendering old desires and beliefs to embrace truth?
Press in, my friends. Press in.