“This is my comfort in my affliction:
for thy word hath quickened me.”
Psalm 119:50, KJV
My granddaughter brought my great-grandbaby by for a visit. Being only five weeks old, smiles are appearing more often but she, also, has inherited her daddy’s scowl. As I worked to coax a smile from her, I explained more wrinkles will adorn her smooth silky baby skin than smiles.
Age brings worries, tension, and troubles into our lives and wrinkles multiply. The world presses wrinkles into our spirit more than our flesh if we allow it. The Spirit of God washes away the worries, our haunting past, all that’s not of him, and gets the wrinkles out. We would not know the power of the Lord in our lives if we never experienced the cleansing and the heat of the iron.
“Beloved think it not strange
concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,
as thou some strange thing happened unto you:
inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings;
that, when his glory shall be revealed,
ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,
happy are ye;
for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:
on their part he is evil spoken of,
but on your part he is glorified.”
1Peter 4:12-14, KJV
Apostle Peter knew about fiery trials, as did Apostle Paul. The world pressed more wrinkles into their flesh than what covers a Shar Pei puppy. But the wrinkles didn’t mar their spirit. Both considered the persecutions and trials a source of coming to know Christ through sharing his sufferings. Paul wrote—
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ …
I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung,
that I may win Christ … And be found in him …
That I may know him and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
(From Philippians 3: 7-11, KJV)
Paul’s past represented a pharisaical rising star. He possessed the heritage, the recognition of Jewish elite, a misplaced zeal, a spotless reputation according to the law. All that changed when he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. What he had before was of no more importance than what a donkey dumps on the path behind him.
Paul’s greatest desire consisted of knowing Christ. His desire should be ours. To know Christ means—
- to experience him in our lives;
- to experience his resurrection power which takes us from physical and eternal death to abundant life, and eternal life. That is the power of the resurrection of Christ in us.
- Along this road in the resurrection power, knowing Christ involves experiencing his suffering for sin—not for the remission of sin, but for the suffering of sin’s influence in this world.
- We will experience Christ’s death. Before hanging on the cross the human aspect of Jesus, his flesh needed to die to self.
In Christ’s anguish before his trial and march to the cross, Jesus laid aside his flesh’s desire to not drink the cup of suffering held in his hands. Instead, he picked up his cross and obeyed the Father, taking our sin—giving us his righteousness.
Jesus showed us by his life, death, and resurrection how to know him after telling us—
“If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross,
and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Matthew 16:24b, KJV
Our wrinkles find cleansing in the blood of Christ. They are ironed out as we share in his cross. We don’t welcome suffering or persecution, but we shouldn’t shrink from it when it comes. Christ is our strength.
We can rejoice in suffering, because it reveals the power of Christ in us, giving us a platform to share the Gospel of our Lord—a platform where wrinkles are ironed out and spirits are renewed without spot or blemish, like the flesh of a newborn baby.
What wrinkles do you need the blood of Christ applied to?