The Life Of Jesus In Mortal Bodies
A daily devotion for September 11th
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. (2 Corinthians 4:11)
What we want, of course, is to be like Him. But the power of God is the miracle of others seeing in us, in the midst of our pressures and trials, the character and the life of Jesus. I have always been amused and challenged by the verse in Colossians 1, where Paul prays that his friends in Colosse may be
strengthened with all power according to his glorious might (Colossians 1:11a). What are they going to use all this power for? It sounds as though Paul ought to say,
So that you can go about doing great miracles; so that you can astonish people with the tremendous magnetism of your preaching and teaching and be followed by great crowds. But that is not what he says. He says,
I pray that you may be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience (Colossians 1:11). That is what takes power; that is where the life and the power of God is manifest. That is the
life of Jesus.
As you read through the gospels, the Spirit of God brings to your mind's eye a far more beautiful and wonderful picture, perhaps, of Jesus' character and life. You see His compassion of heart, His moral beauty that attracted people everywhere He went. You see the serenity of His spirit, how He moves through every scene of anger and unrest with calmness and quietness. You see His disciplined will and His obvious joy in living. That is the
life of Jesus, and that is what we want, isn't it?
How do you get it? The secret, Paul says, is our consent to share in the dying of Jesus. What does he mean by the
dying of Jesus? You know he does not mean that we have to get ourselves nailed to a cross. But that cross is a symbol of something very real in our experience. What was Jesus like on the cross? He was not powerful and impressive and significant; He was not being applauded by the multitudes that listened to His every word. No. The cross was a place of physical weakness, of rejection by the proud and arrogant world around Him. It was a place of obscurity, a place where He was willing to lose everything He had built and to trust God to bring it back and make it significant.
Have you been in those circumstances recently, where no matter what you do you cannot seem to get any glory or credit for yourself? That is exactly where God wants you, because out of those times of inordinate pressure, times of hurt and despair and heartache and a sense of being wasted and not used, God is working His will. Others, perhaps, are being given life because of the death you are going through.
Lord, there are times when I go through trials. How my heart longs to cry out to You to deliver me from them. May I rather learn instead, Lord, that wonderful attitude of the Lord Jesus,if it be possible, may this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done.
Life Application: Are we being so changed by our relationship with Christ that others who are in our lives see the glory of His character? How can we share in the dying of Jesus?
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