"A Christian's Purpose"
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Mark Twain wrote, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The answer to this why question is often times easily forgotten. This can especially be true throughout a Christian’s life. It is far too easy to be distracted by the busyness of our lives to remember our purpose. In this season of Lent we need to be clear on what a Christian’s purpose is. Another way to say it is, what is your aim?
Paul clearly states our purpose, which is to know Christ. Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Paul tells us that we know Christ in part by being like him.
How can we be like Christ? By relying on the power of his resurrection, seeing trials as a way to participate in His sufferings, and conforming to him in his death. According to Paul, it is with this aim in mind that we can attain the resurrection from the dead. Knowing Christ and being like him prepares us for our future resurrection hope. Is this your aim?
As I truthfully answer that question, I realize I don’t always have these in mind. Often, I rely on my own strength in my work, school, and daily commitments. When I face trials, I typically think I don’t deserve to suffer this way. When it comes to conforming to him in his death, I want to fulfill my own desires, making it hard to die to sin and self. I need refocus my purpose daily and aim toward the ultimate goal, which is to know Christ and to be like Him.
Our purpose fits well with taking kingdom-advancing risks. As these verses remind us, we don’t take risks in our own power, but the power of Christ’s resurrection as we step out in faith. We might face trials, but remember we are to participate in His suffering. Stepping out in faith turns us away from selfish desires to God’s desire, making us more like Christ in his death. In taking kingdom-advancing risks we become more like Christ, which will ultimately be realized in our resurrection from the dead.
Let us be encouraged by Ignatius, who in his letter to the Romans longed “to be an imitator of the suffering of my God” and knew in his conformity to Christ in His death that, “now at last I am beginning to be a disciple.”