“I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.”
Philippians 3:10 The Message
Knowledge Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
We live in an age where knowledge is supreme and information overflows. This is the case even with God and Jesus. You can read more, learn more, study more but is that really knowing Him?
From the passage above, I don’t think Paul was simply talking about acquiring more information about Jesus. No. There’s a certain intimacy that goes with this word “knowing”. Paul is not saying he just wants to have more cool stories about Jesus rather that He understands His heart, His mind…that they would essentially become one.
In another book of Paul, I Corinthians 13, He writes that knowledge puffs up, whereas loves builds up. The point is that knowledge is often only head deep; love is heart deep. This knowing that Paul is talking about is a love relationship with Christ that goes beyond some simple explanation. This is a knowing that has revolutionized His entire life.
Have you ever met someone who changed your entire way of living? Your entire way of thinking? Your entire way of giving and taking? That’s what Paul is talking about here. In the verses surrounding this passage, Paul talks of loss and gain, He talks of laying things aside, He talks of a life-changing paradigm shift. He has had His life altered in such a way that simply having a casual encounter cannot accomplish. Nor can casual encounters satisfy after the fact. This desire to know leads him to a place of desperation, where it’s ok if all is lost for there is only one thing to gain: relationship.
Paul basically gives us a few things to consider in knowing God and Christ:
If you want what counts, count all things loss.
Things can never replace friendship or relationship. Yet, things occupy so much of our time. Worthless things. How far would you go to have a meaningful relationship with someone? Especially God? To count it loss means it becomes dead to you. It means you understand it has no life for you and only takes life from you. It has no replenishing ability. Only God through Christ has life to offer us. Do we really know and live this?
If you want to live, then die now.
Paul says that He wants to experience the power of the resurrection. The only people who can and will be resurrected are those who have experienced death. A relationship with Christ is only created and formed through the death of us. We must yield our spirit, we must yield ourselves, we must die in Him (Galatians 2:20). When we die, we are resurrected. What does it mean to die? It means we take no thought for anything. We simply yield to His authority. He is the holder of life and death. We live to and for Him. We don’t barter, we don’t beg, we don’t bend anything except a knee in humble acceptance of His Will for we KNOW His love toward us and we desire His GLORY displayed in us.
Share and share alike.
Paul says that He wants to share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Christ suffered terribly for our sake. Christ desires that we be willing to take up our crosses and suffer with our brothers and sisters. We are made one with Christ when we suffer for His namesake and we have the fellowship that only crisis and suffering can meld. Our willingness to count all a loss allows us to share freely with those around us who are suffering. The greatest knowing of who someone really is is through seeing how they respond in crisis and matters of life and death. Jesus is our great example. No one handled such opposition, mockery, betrayal, abandonment, insults, humiliation, apathy, isolation, and a slow torturous murder, with any greater dignity, loyalty and love than Jesus. This is why Paul wants to know Him. This is why Paul wants to yield everything. This is why Paul understands that this goes far beyond information. Information can cause one to change their course, but relationship is what changes a life.
Make it your passion to KNOW Him today. It is Jesus’ passion to know you, inside and out. Lay aside all the things that distract and delay this “knowing”. Enter into a relationship that will “altar your ego” and generate the greatest yield ever encountered by a loss. Get to KNOW God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Questions To Consider:
Evaluate what you have more of, information about Jesus or a relationship with Jesus. Define what a relationship means to you, in general and then hold it up to Christ and see if it qualifies.
What things compete for allegiance to Christ in your life? Are you willing to give any or all of those things up? How could your loss determine your life’s value? How could your loss even be your gain? Do you prize a relationship built on love and obedience to Christ more then the possession of temporal pleasures or items?
How are you sharing in the suffering of Christ? This words seems to convey a continual suffering. It’s not past tense, in other words. What burden do you carry for the sake of humanity?