(Below is a modified version of a devotional that I wrote for my church. It is based on the readings from these passages of Scripture: Psalm 37:1-18; Hab. 3:1-18; Philippians 3:12-21; John 17:1-8)
We were reminded last week on Ash Wednesday that we are dust, and one day we will return to that dust. Continuing along with the theme of human frailty, we are reminded that our bodies are mortal in Philippians 3:12-21. Yet, Paul reminds us that we must press onwards towards the prize– the prize of an upward calling of resurrection. There is the tension of frailty and glory. He eagerly looked forward to the redemption of his body, when the transformation of the mortal body is complete in glory, made like Christ’s. Nevertheless, the hope in future glory and resurrection is inextricably tied to the cross.
We are not told to imitate a suave and debonair individual, like a James Bond or Cary Grant. Instead, it is the crucified Christ that we must imitate, the one who emptied himself and became man (Phil 2:5-11). This is a way of life, and believers are baptized into this reality, being marked by faith, hope, and love. Notice in the Philippians 3 passage that Paul invited others to imitate him as he imitated Christ, being fully aware of the influence of others who also walked in the same manner of cruciformity (cross-shaped).
Did you also notice a pattern of influence that came up in the “High Priestly Prayer” of John 17? Jesus passed along everything that the Father entrusted to him, giving the words of truth to those who were given eternal life. From the Father, to the Son, to the Apostles, to the early church fathers and mothers, and down throughout the ages, we have been given the words of eternal life, confirmed through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a simple contribution we can make when it comes to living out the good news of the Kingdom. We can invest in the lives of others, encouraging them on the road to the goal. As C.H. Spurgeon once noted, “Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you. So carve your names on hearts and not on marble.” So let’s leave a legacy by being faithful to Christ and passing on the life transforming words of truth.