Thursday - April 8th
Scripture to Read Today: Philippians 3:7-12
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Rich Little is one of the most prolific impersonators of all time. The Canadian-born 82-year-old Little has had an impressive career in show business. He has been making audiences laugh for more than 50 years and does more than 200 impersonations of public figures. Little shares the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Voices" with the late voice actor Mel Blanc. Little currently has a show in Vegas and he gives no indication that he plans to slow down.
As a kid, I loved to watch Rich Little do his impersonations on television variety shows of the 1970s. Some of his impersonations I liked the most included Richard Nixon, Howard Cosell, and John Wayne. I liked those best because those characterizations were so distinct that I tried to impersonate Rich Little impersonating them with my friends. Frankly, I thought I was very good - my friends disagreed.
As followers of Christ, God plans for us to be conformed to the image of Christ - to become like Jesus (Romans 8:29). God does not call us to impersonate Jesus. He calls us to be transformed so that Jesus is seen in and through us more every day. We are to think like Jesus, act like Jesus, love like Jesus, and talk like Jesus. It is a process of transformation from the inside out (Romans 12:2).
In Philippians 3:10-11, Paul describes this transformation in terms of depth of commitment. He speaks of Christ's willingness to go to His death on the cross for us. As Jesus was willing to suffer throughout His ministry to provide others salvation, we should be ready to suffer (or even die) to share the Gospel with others. Paul believed that living with a willingness to give all for others to come to Jesus was worth it. He knew that to suffer for the cause of Christ meant we would also then share in the hope of His resurrection. For the follower of Christ, death is temporary; life is permanent. Becoming like Jesus brings the inherent danger of being rejected and maybe even giving our very lives for Him.
According to the Apostle Paul, to have that depth of commitment means we must passionately pursue knowing Christ as a way of life. When we have a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus, we know Him more. When we know Him more, we become like Him. As we become like Him, others are drawn to Jesus through our lives. As people come to Jesus, some are threatened and may push back against us. But when you know Jesus deeply, nothing will stop you from seeking to share Him with others!
Paul expressed his deepest passion when he said, "that I may know Him" (Philippians 3:10). He wanted to know Christ personally. As Paul did that, then he would be willing to die. His willingness to die would be undergirded with the hope of resurrection life forever as he gave all to make Jesus known to others.
Do you burn with a deep passion to know Jesus more? Are you eager for God to transform you into the likeness of Christ? Do you want others to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ to the point that you are willing to give your very life?
We are not called to merely imitate Jesus. We are called to be transformed into the image of Christ.
As we pursue knowing Christ, we become like Him - even in our passion and willingness to give all to see others saved!