by Tom Brennen
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I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death (Philippians 3:10).
I am a school principal, and this means I spend an awful lot of time planning. There are strategic plans, operational plans, building plans and plans for planning.
As I read Paul’s words in our reading today, I am struck by his beautifully succinct vision statement and strategic plan rolled in one: it forms a pretty solid three-point plan:
- Know Christ and the power of the resurrection.
- Share in Christ’s sufferings to become like him.
- Through these things, seek eternal life through Christ.
Unlike a CEO setting out a vision for their organisation, Paul’s plan is intensely personal and serves as an example to the readers of this letter. Paul knows that to lead others, he must tend to his own faith. He must grow in knowledge, share in Christ’s sufferings and desire eternal life.
From there, Paul calls others in his community to follow him, to not be like those whose ‘end is destruction, their god is the belly, and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things’.
As followers of Christ, we are called to provide an example to our community of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. To do this, it makes good sense to follow Paul’s three-point plan – know Christ, share in his sufferings, and look forward to the resurrection.
As with any sound strategy or plan, this takes time to carry out. As Martin Luther wrote: ‘At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith’.
It was through Luther’s consistent commitment to meditating, considering, seeking and wondering that he grew in knowledge of the Father, Son and Spirit. May we diligently follow in the footsteps of the mothers and fathers of our faith, as with Paul and Luther, who have walked before us. They shine a light for us to follow – a light that points to Christ.
Holy Spirit, move us to diligently seek our Lord through a commitment to the Christian disciplines of prayer, meditation, worship and learning. May we grow in the knowledge of Jesus, his suffering and the gift of his resurrection each day. Amen.