As believers, it is important to remember the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power available to us today. In Romans 8:11, Paul states:
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
If you and I want to know Christ and appropriate the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10) in our relationships, what needs to happen? Here are 3 things I believe are crucial. We must…
1. Die to Self
Death always precedes resurrection. There is no resurrection without death. Just as Jesus died to self, you and I must die to ourselves. If we want to experience the power of the resurrection in our relationships, we have to die to self. How did Jesus die to self? He subordinated His will to the will of the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed:
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup (death by crucifixion for the sins of the world) pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus submitted his will and desires to the plan and purpose of God. How do you and I die to self? What does that look like practically? Paul states it this way:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10).
Later he says:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty-conceit, but with humility of mind, let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
A key to dying to self is a person’s ability to put others above themselves. Selfish people will rarely, if ever, experience the power of the resurrection in their relationships.
2. Forgive Graciously
Jesus modeled gracious forgiveness upon the cross. As soldiers mocked Him and cast lots for His garments, as the rulers sneered and jeered at Him, and as one of the criminals hanging on a cross beside Him cast insults at Him, Jesus graciously requested of the Father:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:35).
What Jesus did even before the power of the resurrection was manifested through Him, you and I can only do through the power of the resurrection. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul admonishes us to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Forgiveness like that is not possible in and of ourselves. That type of forgiveness requires the power of the resurrection. When wronged, if you’re like me, you want “justice,” you want retaliation, you want vengeance. Together, we want the wrong-doer to experience just as much, if not more, pain as they inflicted on us. But, that is not how Jesus forgave. Just like He did for the people witnessing the crucifixion, Jesus forgave you and me even before we asked for His forgiveness (Romans 5:8).
3. Expect the Impossible
The resurrection was possible only for God. The power of the resurrection is not possible for us by ourselves. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever been resurrected from the dead by self-will. The power of the resurrection will take you into situations that are impossible for you. You may need to forgive someone you don’t think deserves your forgiveness. You may need to learn to accept and love someone you believe is unworthy of your love and acceptance. There will be times in relationships when you feel utterly powerless; you may feel helpless, you may lack motivation or the desire to be like Christ to someone. It’s in those times you need the God of the impossible.
Luke 1:37 states: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” What is impossible for you and me is possible with God. Paul writes: “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20). What is this power of which Paul writes? It is the power of the resurrection—a power that is not naturally in us.
Let me ask you:
- Where is God calling you to die to self?
- Who might God be calling you to forgive graciously?
- What impossible work might God want to perform in and through you?
If you and I become united with Christ in the likeness of His death, we will also certainly be united in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5).