The Gospel in Two Grand Movements

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August 15, 2017

Philippians 1:29-30

29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

CONSIDER THIS

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

The Gospel comes in two massive movements. Believing and becoming. We believe in Jesus. We become like Jesus. Christ suffered on our behalf and he grants to us the gift of suffering on his behalf. We must learn, though, what Jesus means by suffering. It is quite simple. Suffering, in the vision of the Gospel, means love.

We have rehearsed it before on the Daily Text and we will never stop. The first half of the Gospel flows from John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.

The second half of the Gospel, perhaps serendipitously, issues from 1 John 3:16.

This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, therefore we must lay down our lives for one another. 1 John 3:16. 

We see these two movements powerfully compended in today’s text: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

The path between believing and becoming is called the way of the Cross. It brings us to another word beginning with the letter B: Belonging. The way of the Cross is the way of belonging to Jesus. To belong to Jesus means to become identified with him. It means ceasing to belong to the world and its pattern. To belong to Jesus is the pathway to becoming like him. “Christ in you,” is the way Paul captures it. Suffering for him is nothing to be afraid of. The world has trained us to fear this word. Jesus will show us there is actually no better place on Earth.

Buckle your bible belts, my friends. This is where we are headed. For now, let this be your walking around, breath prayer.

“Jesus I belong to you.”

I want us to say it over and over and over until we find ourselves praying it.

Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you. Jesus I belong to you.Jesus I belong to you. . . .

Say a word of it with each step.

Believing and becoming. The way is belonging.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, through whom you have determined to belong to us. . . to me. Grant me the gift of giving my life to him. I want to belong to Jesus. I know it will mean no longer belonging to myself. This scares me, but honestly, it scares me more to not go this way. Come Holy Spirit and grace me to walk in this way anew. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What do you make of this framework of the two halves of the Gospel: Believing and Becoming?
  2. Why does the word “suffering” strike terror in us? Could it be because we too much belong to ourselves?
  3. Are you ready to enter a new chapter of belonging to Jesus? Will you begin with the simple breathing and walking prayer today? Will you make it a holy obsession?

P.S. As you are aware, the New Room Conference is coming next month (September 20-22). We could use some help with our Altar Ministry Prayer Team. If you have served in this kind of capacity before and would like to help, we would be glad to cover the cost of your conference registration. We will provide training the opening morning of the conference. If you are interested, please make application here. We will be in touch.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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