The cross and resurrection are foundational doctrines of Christianity. They are intertwined and cannot be separated from one another. We cannot experience resurrection without first dying. The degree to which we lay down our lives for the Lord and His purposes, while embracing His cross, is the same degree that we will experience His resurrection life, perceiving and partaking of the glory that He now abides in.
Jesus did not stop at the cross, and it is imperative that we not stop at the cross. The Lord did not just call Israel out of Egypt, but He called them into the Promised Land. We are not just called to die to this world, but we are called to walk in a glorious new creation.
However, just as Israel had to go through a wilderness that was the exact opposite of the land of milk and honey they had been promised in order to get to their inheritance, we too must do the same. As the Lord said in John 16:33:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage;
I have overcome the world.”
As the Apostle Paul affirmed in Acts 14:22, “…Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God.” We go through trials, which are all meant to strengthen our faith and character, so we can be trusted with the authority and treasures of the age to come. This is why Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5:
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out
within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Here we see a progression towards proven character and the hope that does not disappoint, but it begins with tribulation. In this world we will have trials and tribulations, but they are allowed so we can experience the power and authority of resurrection life. Every cross we have to bear will lead to a greater glory. We must go through a wilderness to get to our Promised Land. The wilderness is designed to work in us that which will enable us to possess the promises of God, and to be trusted with the power and authority He has called us to walk in, which demonstrates His authority, power, and dominion.
The purpose of our Promised Land is not just to allow us to have the good life, but rather to demonstrate the nature of the Lord’s kingdom and ways to a fallen world. The greatest demonstration of the Lord’s kingdom was the Lord’s own life. He had dominion over the earth, and over the works of the devil. He says in John 17:18, “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”
Jesus demonstrated the power of a life in harmony with the Father. We are called to demonstrate the power of a life that is likewise in unity with Him by abiding in the Son. Jesus walked in power over all diseases, and we are called to do the same. In Luke 10:19, we see that the Lord gave His disciples authority over “all the power of the enemy.”
However, is there anyone who is walking in this? I do not know of anyone who can presently bind all of the evil in a single place, much less all of his power. However, I know many that are growing in authority over evil spirits, and are through prayer and proclamation of the truth changing the spiritual atmosphere over their regions. This is the authority that we are called to grow in.
Our goal is to be like Jesus and to do the works that He did. We cannot do this on our own, but only by abiding in Him. We learn to abide in Him by going to the cross. It seems that almost everyone wanted to be close to Jesus to experience the miracles and glory of His works, but when He went to the cross even His closest disciples fled from Him, because they did not yet understand the resurrection. After the resurrection, however, even these proved willing to face death with the greatest courage and peace.
The degree to which we will abide in Him will be determined by the degree to which we behold the power of His resurrection — the power, glory, and authority that He has now. When we know He is in control, and that nothing can happen to us that He does not allow for our own good, then we will not flee from the cross — we will count it all joy when we, too, are able to suffer for His name’s sake.
There is no greater privilege that we can be given in this life, and such is the path to unfathomable glory. Do not waste your trials, but as the great apostle declared in Philippians 3:7-14:
“But whatever things were gain to me,
those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
More than that, I count all things to be loss
in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own
derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ,
the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect,
but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that
for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
After leaving Egypt, all the experiences that Israel went through were to prepare them for the high calling of representing the Lord on earth. We, too, have been given this highest of callings, and everything we go through is intended to prepare us for it.
He wants us to do the works that He did and even greater ones, to demonstrate His resurrection and His authority which is above all authority. He is now looking for those who will endure the things that fashion our character, so He can trust us with this unprecedented honor.
This is your destiny. You are a new creation.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|