Pressing On. Toward Resurrection. (Part 3)
The conclusion of this 3-part article contains the answer many have been seeking. Times are rough for a lot of Christians the world over, and have been getting more difficult in places where things used to be better.
…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 so 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. [Philippians 3:10-14] 
I have been watching videos about underground Chinese Christians. One of the prevailing themes among their lives is the ongoing dedication they must pursue with so little apparent reward or accomplishment. They keep pressing on through each day, year after year, though things rarely get any easier or more comfortable. They often wonder why they have to suffer so much. The Lord keeps telling them the same thing He told the apostle Paul:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” [2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV]
The NASV says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
What is this power, this strength, this dunamis? And why does it only kick in when we are weak? Is it not the very same power the Lord Himself used to live a perfect life?
And what is this grace, this charis? It must be something tangible, like a spiritual IV packed with nutrients, and not simply God’s favor alone.
A real Christian must be able to live off this power and grace when all else is unavailable. Did not the Lord of all Creation live a life of apparent outward weakness in order to be very powerful in the spirit? And did He not continually demonstrate this power? It is obvious then, that a person who is to be a real Christian must have this grace and power, this charis and dunamis. And he or she must be able to receive it by making themselves weak in the flesh and in the ways of this world.
It is simply a fact that spiritual giants will appear as the opposite to non-spiritual people.
This “weakness” and the requisite strength that comes because of it is what we lack. And we lack it due to simple laziness and a bowing to human nature. Most “Christians” are as fleshly as the day is long and therefore weak in the spirit. They learn to be weak in the spirit and that it is perfectly okay to be weak in the spirit often because their fake leaders are weak in the spirit.
After a while an entire culture starts calving off like a massive landslide because the ones charged with being salt and light and holding things together became derelict in their duty.
Like a great baseball player who stays out night after night drinking and fornicating and bringing much less than his “A” game to the field for his team and fans until the team suffers and he breaks down in a heap and retires early.
Meanwhile, there was another baseball player of the same era who kept doing his duty every year and every game. He was somewhat off the radar, and no one realized how great his accomplishments were to the same degree. He was Mr. Consistent. Not a lot of flash, but he brought it every day. Rarely stopping due to injury, he continued bringing the best for his team and racked up the stats until he eventually broke an impossible record the other guy was supposed to break and should have but never came close.
People who know baseball know who these players are, and many more just like them. The dedicated player also had a very rough row to hoe during his playing days and suffered many slights and insults but continued to soldier on. He was somewhat invisible for many years. The other guy was the darling of the media, characterized as a great hero, and got away with everything. Though he was a carousing drunk all the dads wanted their sons to be like him, but not so much the other guy.
The Lord was like this. He would bring it regardless. It didn’t matter if anyone noticed, if it appeared as though He was accomplishing nothing, or if the whole blasted filthy rotten world and everyone in it hated Him without a cause. He was going to do His duty come hell or high water. He would complete His mission. You could not stop Him. He was a million percent dedicated. Regardless of whatever the circumstances may be, He would do and did do everything that was required. He pressed on like no one had ever pressed on and taught His disciples how to do likewise.
And He strengthens us to do likewise. Therefore we are without excuse.
Go spend twenty years in a Chinese prison for doing nothing wrong but everything right and then tell me how challenging your life is, especially when all God ever says is “My grace is sufficient, My grace is sufficient…” Will they get out of jail tomorrow? Or next year? Or ever? They had and have no idea. They are tortured and forced to endure the worst insults to body and mind but somehow maintain the ability to go on. And they do it with a big bright smile and tears of joy streaming down their face!
What IS this grace anyway? And how does it fuel a person to do the impossible?
One of the hardest things about being a real Christian is being continually dedicated against the tide with no sign of any kind of change for the better. You’re out on the ocean every day with nothing but a water and sky horizon and nothing ever changes, it seems. You feel completely alone though you know the Lord is somehow there with you. You feel like you’ve been cast aside and the only One that can help won’t help.
In China, a few thousand dedicated believers felt exactly that way but pressed on anyway. One day they looked up from their spiritual drudgery and noticed their numbers had increased a little—to many tens of thousands. The tens of thousands continued to press on against the wind with no change to their very difficult lives or apparent change to the culture around them. Then one day they looked up and the tens of thousands had become millions. In a Communist country! Where real Christianity is outlawed! Where the worst forms of abuse were thrown their way!
Still, they continue pressing on, pushing against evil in the way the Lord taught us. They press hard against a very powerful force the way one pushes a car down the road with the tires almost flat. This evil force is like a giant unseen mass of pressure suspended from the heavens to the ground that continually resists the Light and those in which the Light dwells. Yet, these unrelenting Chinese believers continue with marathon worship, unceasing prayer, forty day fasts, and incessant witnessing and evangelizing. They meet in secret house churches or wherever they can knowing they could be killed and tortured for it.
And while the real Christians in China were growing from a few thousand to what is estimated at the moment to be close to one hundred million, most American Christians have become the opposite—a bunch of spiritually weak, lazy prima donnas and ultra-fleshly fakers watching their entire country go screwy and ultra-sinful without much concern about it or any plans to change it.
China will become a Christian nation in a few years while America is going in full reverse and the majority of Christians here remain willfully clueless.
It started a few decades ago with a few thousand…
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. (Part 3 of 3)
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on April 4, 2013, in Real Christianity and tagged Discipleship, Evangelization and Witnessing, Grace of God, Lord Jesus, persecution, Prayer and Fasting, Pressing On, Real Christianity, Resurrection, Strength Made Perfect In Weakness. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
I agree! Good stuff. Although my Bible-based, evangelistic Fellowship is quite alive and active, I still may learn Chinese. We are rooted in the “Jesus movement” and are beginning to see a resurgence of that phenomenon. Thanks for visiting my humble site. I’m glad You found it so that I could find you!
Thanks, Len. Enjoyed your site. There’s a lot of good things going on even though we’re still early. I’m seeing the beginning of a national Great Awakening, an intellectual awakening, and a freedom movement based on a return to honoring our Constitution. Many are also expressing a strong desire to return to our first-century Christian roots, and of course there is the home church movement now in full swing nationwide after a humble start that began gaining ground 20-25 years ago. Looking forward to finding out more about the new “Jesus movement.” There’s a lot happening!
Wonderful post RJ! Also, thank you for liking one or more of the posts on my blog at Faith1st Ministry. I hope it has encouraged you. Please continue to check in on us from time to time and follow if you will. Thank you again and remember to have Faith 1st.
Thank you, Sebastian. Will do! I appreciate the visit.
RJ, it’s interesting you bring China into the discussion here. I was reading an article the other day that gives sufficient evidence to show that by 2025 (should trends continue), both China and Africa will have a larger Christian population than America. We are not far from seeing the day when it will be costly right here on our own soil to be a Real Christian. But then is that not grace? Will God not be extending His grace greatly to draw us back to Himself regardless of cost, even if it means being able to truly identify with “the fellowship of His suffering?” A really good series… thanks and blessings good friend and brother!
Thank you, Mike. I appreciate it. Regarding your point, I would like to quote from my book:
“The fact of the matter is that persecution campaigns will come, as a matter of course, when the church in America, like the prophets of old, reaches a pre-determined level of strength, maturity, unity, and spiritual power. It is a given. It is a law. This principle cannot be circumvented, nor should it be. The Church is not only supposed to be loving, kind, and gentle, but also able to kick the corpulent posteriors of demons and take their names. When the church in any geographic area reaches this point of maturity and commitment, the human instrumentalities of the devil will strike back in defense of their turf with violent, bloody persecution.” [Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001. Chapter 2. Page 99 in Print Book.]
That China and Africa will have more real Christians is not surprising, considering the trends, which do not lie. Regarding America, the early going is always the hardest, and that’s where we are now. As we continue to mature and unite as real believers, the persecution will increase. In several ways, it is already happening.
Christians in general have gone south here for a few decades, and much unscriptural garbage has become institutionalized. The reform movements have therefore taken the first hit from (guess who), fellow Christians. In time, everyone, including fake Christians, will turn against real believers and blame them for pretty much everything, the same way it happened 2000 years ago in the Roman Empire. It’s just a fact that strong, mature Christianity and rabid persecution go together. Hence—pressing on through the tough times to establish the coming forth of great fruit. China’s ahead of the curve compared to America but it will happen here also. It has already begun and NOTHING will stop it.
And as you stated, God IS extending His grace greatly to draw us back to Himself regardless of cost, even if it means being able to truly identify with “the fellowship of His suffering.”
Thanks again, Bro. Dunamis and Charis to you!
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8