I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. (Phil. 3:10)

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is one of the foundational doctrines of our faith. Christianity hangs on this being true. If Jesus is not alive, we are dead in our sins. If Jesus did not rise, you and I are fools living a lie. Christianity is only as real as Jesus.

In Philippians 3, Paul challenged us in two ways regarding this crucial doctrine. First, he reminded us that the resurrection is not just something we believe in, but it is something we participate in. As followers of Jesus, we are caught up in this miracle and are raised with Christ into the new life He pioneered. We must each, as the poet Wendell Berry wrote, “Practice resurrection.” In salvation, we don’t only give our lives to Jesus. He also gives His life to us. To practice resurrection means that Jesus lives His life through us.

Second, Paul made it clear that in order to experience Jesus’ resurrection, we must first share in His death. We cannot be raised up until we have been laid down. To come alive in Christ, we must die to sin. We all want to practice resurrection. But who is willing to embrace death? To truly know Christ is to be drawn into death. To be buried with Him. To be hidden in Him.

Practice resurrection. Embrace the cross.

Matt LeRoy is coauthor of The Way Forwardand Awakening Grace(WPH).