Death-defeating living.

I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection… (Philippians 3: 10)

I know that verse goes onto so much more, but for today I just want to pause there a little while.

At knowing the power of His resurrection.

Just those few words blow my mind when I think about them. When I mediate on them.

When I think that learning how to live in joy and freedom comes from an understanding of the reality of the resurrection.

And I’m not always sure that I really get ‘it’ in the deep way that Holy Spirit wants me to.

Knowing Jesus and the power of His death-defeating living.

For a long time I navigated life from a place of brokenness. I clung to the Jesus who met me in that weakness. The Jesus of Gethsemane. The Jesus of Calvary. The suffering God.

And the thing is, that’s so incredibly important. Clinging to His truth in the darkest seasons of life is a place to see beauty, even in the pain.

But this week I’ve been studying and dwelling upon the resurrection.

Because there’s so much newness in my life right now. So much new perspective and new-season in all that God is doing. I’m having to learn how to pursue Jesus with everything from a place that isn’t the clinging-in-the-darkness kind.

And the resurrection? That gives me the end of the story.

A few years ago, one of my mentors said some really wise words to me. He said, ‘Peta, you’re free now. But the difficult thing is going to be learning that you’re really free. Learning again how to live in freedom’.

For me it was tied into my specific physical circumstances, but I think we all do this.

We live like we’ve been prisoners for so long that when we’re released we only remember the feeling of chains.

And it’s ironic, because Paul’s writing these words in his letter to Philippi from his physical prison cell, in physical chains, and yet he’s not in the least bit bound up.

He just wants to know Jesus.

And really know Him.

But for me, the last few years have raised some questions about how I relate to God in the power of the resurrection.

I mean, we can cling to God in our suffering. But how do we cling to Him once He’s rescued us?

We can hold something so valuable, like this life-shaking resurrection power, and get not appreciate it and not see it for what it really is.

This week, as I’ve been studying the resurrection I’ve been so challenged. Because this resurrection power of Jesus is the standard power we see in the New Testament. It’s the moment where Jesus left the dead and defeated satan. Completely.

We were dead in our sins. In our mistakes. In our weaknesses and our failures. The Bible doesn’t say that we would die in them, it says that we were dead in them. And the same miraculous life-giving power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that raises us from the dead. That forgives our past and gives us a future. Not just eternally. I believe that because Jesus rose, everyone will rise. But I also believe that I can fully live now, despite my past and my history, because I am no longer dead in my sins.

This changes everything for us.

It changes everything for me, even again today.

I was reading an essay by Ravenhill on this, and he wrote that ‘Calvary expresses the love of God, the resurrection explains the power of God.’

And we need both. When I was in desperation I needed the comfort of the reality of God’s love. Each day, just to move from the place I was. I needed to cling to Him as He drove away my fear and was gentle with me. He literally was my breath. But to move into freedom and life again, I need to understand His power. That the same power that raised Jesus raises me. And I need to still cling to Him, even though the season and the type of clinging looks different.

Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection’. That means that the resurrection isn’t just part of our theology. It’s not just something we believe. It’s a person. It’s Jesus.

For me, I find the completeness of my story in the completeness of His.

By coming to the resurrection.

By coming to Jesus.

Because if I really believe that Jesus was raised, and I really do. And if I really believe that He defeated sin and the work of the devil, and I really do. If I really believe that the desperation of the crucifixion led to the victory of the resurrection, and I really do. Then this changes everything.

‘Because if I really died. If that baptism I went into is a symbol only of something that had happened at the moment Jesus died, I died with Him, the moment that He rose, I rose with Him… And I am or dragging a withered limb. He did a complete job…’ (Ravenhill)

I find my hope in His living. His all powerful living.

I have lived, am living and will love forever because He is the resurrection and the life.

He is.

And I pray you can find hope there too.

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