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Boasting is exalting oneself above measure. It is a plague that will multiply in these last days. 2Tim 2:3. It flows from pride. It is to brag about oneself or something related to oneself-possessions, accomplishments or earthly pedigree. Since boasting exalts above measure, it makes one live in an unreal world -a world of self-conceit, self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. Sometimes, boasting is not only by what is said but by the way one lives. James 4:16 (NIV) articulated about boasting in ignorance.


Biodun Coker
Pastor
RCCG-CHRIST CHURCH
Arlington, Texas
Christlike Reflections

Pastor Biodun Coker

THE RESURRECTION POWER

 

Easter is very significant to the Christian faith. While I do not intend to examine the origin of Easter or establish a proof for its significance, I am astonished at the message of hope that it offers to me. I am amazed at the incredible evidence that authenticates the reality of this event. Easter is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is about change. Resurrection is a return to life from death. Both Old and New Testaments record diverse people with such experience, young and old, male or female, some with few hours after death and others with several days after death. All of these events point to the power of God over death .However, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is most unique and significant because it happened as he said it would be. Mt 28:5-6 narrated the unique encounter of the women that went to check out the grave but met it empty and were told that “He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen”. Unlike others that were raised from the dead by him during his earthly ministry, Jesus spoke of his own unique experience ahead of the event. The resurrection of Jesus is seen as the miraculous transformation of His life from the land of the dead. It marked the beginning of his glorification as the one that has power over death. 

 In Mt 28:2 an angel who visited the tomb rolled away the stone unlike what happened at the grave of Lazarus where Jesus asked the onlookers to raise the stone. Several events about the resurrection signify power. Several efforts have been made in the past to discredit the reality of the resurrection event. However the evidence of changed life of the disciples could not be disputed. The transformation of the disciples was one evidence that no one could do or say anything about. Fear changed to boldness in their lives and their testimonies. The same disciples that ran away and gathered in the upper room for fear of the unbelieving Jews were completely transformed. The post Pentecost message was “He is risen”. Even when the Council and High Priests asked Peter and other Apostles not to preach in that name of Jesus Christ, they boldly declared that they would rather obey God than obey men (Acts 5:29). The disciples became audacious with the resurrection message because of the transforming power of resurrection. 

The changed lives of the disciples were evidence that could not be subverted. The resurrection power is a quickening spirit that will never leave a person the same way. It is the power that removes obstacles, change destinies and lift a man from shame and grave to glory. Apostle Paul affirmed that the same spirit works in us. (Rom 8: 10-16).

The resurrection is also an evidence of the unlimited power of God. Eph 3:20 declared that God is able to do that which exceeds our expectations or imaginations. In all ages, the power of God was made manifest. It manifest in bringing forth the promised seed of Abraham when it seemed impossible to hope for one. The power was available for an immigrant whom God asked to sow in a land in times of famine and he became the envy of the indigenes (Gen 26).The power manifest for David when he confronted Goliath. The manifestation of God’s power is proportional to the power that works within us- “according to the power that works within us”. 

Though God’s power is available to us all in great measure, we constantly and inadvertently put the power on leash. The effect of anything on leash does not go beyond the length or circumference of it .We look at our resources, our capacity and ability. We look at the problems and look at ourselves and like the 10 leaders out of the twelve that spied the Promised Land, we see ourselves as grasshoppers. We look at the needs around us and despair. This temptation and challenge is not peculiar to our generation. This made Apostle Paul pray for the church at Ephesus for wisdom, revelation and understanding of the incomparable power of God that was exerted in (not on) Christ when he was raised in Christ(Eph 1:15-23). My understanding of the Apostle Paul’s prayer is the need to be and continue to be the channel for the expression, display and the manifestation of that power.  

 Looking at the vastness and greatness of God’s power at our disposal, the mind boggling question then is how do we fully partake of this? Apostle Paul  rightly put this in perspective in 2 Cor 12: 9  by stating that he would gladly boast in his weakness so that this great power may rest and abide on him. The one thing that causes leakage of God’s power is boastings in our achievements, earthly pedigree and our possessions.  These things cause us to be “exalted above measure”. Pride places a man in opposition with God as it expresses a state of self sufficiency where the grace of God has no place. There is always that state and awareness of the need for help of God by those that ever experienced the resurrection power. Lazarus had nothing to boast of in the grave. He was dead. Martha the sister even confirmed that he was of no use to anyone as “by this time he stinks already” (Jn 11:39). For Jairus’ daughter to experience resurrection power, Jairus (though a ruler of the synagogue) did not come with a spreadsheet of his accomplishments but rather “fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house” (Lk 8:41) .The only son of the widow of Nain experienced resurrection for there was no boasting about his case. She was no doubt depending on him at her old age since she had lost her husband. He was already being carried out of the city to the place of the dead. The burial procession was halted as grace flowed towards the widow who had nothing else to boast about. The power of God touched the young man in the coffin and was commanded to arise by Jesus. Lk 7: 11-14. The Shunammite woman did not come to Elijah boasting about her generosity but rather came to the man of God where he was and caught him by the feet (2 Kgs 4:27). She did not come to give the man of God a hug or shake hands. She was in need and there was no room for boasting. 

Boasting is exalting oneself above measure. It is a plague that will multiply in these last days. 2Tim 2:3. It flows from pride. It is to brag about oneself or something related to oneself-possessions, accomplishments or earthly pedigree. Since boasting exalts above measure, it makes one live in an unreal world -a world of self-conceit, self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. Sometimes, boasting is not only by what is said but by the way one lives. James 4:16 (NIV) articulated about boasting in ignorance. Boasting is motivated by lack of knowledge of God. Jer 9:23-24 states: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth;  but let those who boast,  boast in that they understand and know God who act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. Apostle Paul affirmed this in 1 Cor 1:31 by recalling that whosoever must boast, must boast in the Lord. 

Boasting in the Lord is an acknowledgment of our need for his grace and power. It is a result of dying to self. A dead man has no energy for boasting. All that is needed for a dead man is resurrection. The amazing thing about life is that God has never left those who died to self to rot in the tomb. Paul declared that when that happens, the power of God rests on that person. The encounter of Elijah with the son of the Shunammite woman properly illustrates this.

Then he got up on the bed, stretching himself out on the child, and put his mouth on the child's mouth, his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands; and the child's body became warm. Then he came back, and after walking once through the house and back, he went up, stretching himself out on the child seven times; and the child's eyes became open.                                                                                     2 Kings 4:34-35

Elijah literarily rested on the dead boy-mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and hands to hands. All of that led to the physical body receiving warmth. How much more will our life as children of God be if we are dead enough to self? There is no doubt that if the boy was not dead, he would have pushed Elijah away from him. How many times have we pushed God away because we are not dead enough to be rested upon mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes and hands to hand? To rest upon means “to dwell in a tent”. It pictures God as spreading himself as a tent over someone. Rather than have God spreading himself as a tent, a boastful person will rather prefer to show his spreadsheet of accomplishments, possessions and pedigree. In Phil 3:4-14, Apostle Paul enumerated how he gave up several things which were of personal profit for the sake of knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection. Has there being any gain without a loss? Are you willing to lose self-aggrandizement, self-conceit and self-righteousness to gain God? Are you ready to die to self to be covered as a tent by God and allow his warmth to energize and ignite a fresh passion in you?  Dying to self is acknowledging our need for God. It was “Self” that made Adam and Eve lose the fellowship and the Garden of Eden as they wanted to be like God. They were not satisfied with the warmth of the fellowship but prefer to step out so as to have something to boast about.  

Resurrection is not resuscitation. Resuscitation comes as a result of being awaken from temporary loss of consciousness. It may be administered by artificial means- life support machine, environment or CPR. Resurrection is a work of the spirit to a person that is dead to personal ambition and glory. What is your experience dear friend? Is it resuscitation or resurrection? Are you awakened by the environmental energy of a revival meeting or the spirit of God? Are you awakened by the fact that “everyone around me is mindful of going to denominational meetings or gathering” or by a deliberate, intentional and purposeful relationship with Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord? While resuscitation makes you to wonder “what happened to me”, resurrection makes you a wonder. Can your old acquaintances say with a guarantee that “he is no longer here”. Can it be said that you have risen from shame, guilt and sin-laden conscience into a new life in Christ. Are things different now?

When the son of the widow of Nain rose, “there came a fear on all” Lk 7:16. The people were struck with wonder and glorified God. The fame of Jesus Christ spread abroad because of the evidence of the resurrection power. Changed life is the evidence of the resurrection power. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection power. Therefore, Easter celebration is all about changed lives. Christ is risen indeed! Be the evidence. 

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