Philippians 3:10 says I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (NIV84)
I want to know … ginosko = to know, learn, be familiar with, understand, find out
Do we really? Oh we want Jesus to give us peace, to satisfy our desires, but do we really want to know him. Often, I think not.
The word carries with it an intimacy. “I want to know and be intimate with God.” It is like Abraham was so intimate, such a friend of God, that when God was going to destroy Sodom, he said “should I hide this from Abraham?” Where does this intimacy come from? David knew it. It comes from walking with the Shepherd, day in, day out, through the seasons of the year. Psalm 23 says “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Why? It is because this is a picture of a year in the cycle of sheep and the Shepherd. Green pastures, quiet waters, paths of righteousness, are all in the Spring, in home pastures. But then he goes through dark valleys, with deathly predators all around, yet without fear because he has been there before with his Shepherd. Correction and Protection, both, are seen as the Shepherd’s comfort along the paths to the summer highlands. He is not worried because they are headed to the tablelands where he knows the Shepherd has already been and prepared for him a beautiful summer place. Yes, he stays with the Lord with enemies all around, and with the attack of the pests of late summer. He finds the Lord anoints his head, and fills his cup till it runs over. Then, he continues with the Lord back home to dwell for the winter. Notice then that goodness and mercy FOLLOW him. They do not come TO him, they follow him. So then, goodness and mercy SURELY belong to the sheep of the Shepherd’s flock but those things follow us as we follow HIM.
We often don’t know him because we won’t stay with him through it all.
So, back to Paul in Philippians 3:10. We are so driven by desires that we adjust his scripture to fit our selfish desires. We take thoughts in scripture out of context. We want what we want more than we want Christ. But Paul leads in with v8 I consider everything else a LOSS compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing him. Paul says he counts these things as rubbish the worst of garbage, a waste … because if he treasures those things, he will not treasure and gain knowledge of Christ. But as I turn my selfish treasure into trash, I find v9 that what remains is a righteousness that is not mine, but only exists by faith in Christ.
So, I want the intimate experience of Christ which comes as I follow him. Denying self, taking up the cross, then I can know the power of the resurrection v10. Oh, we want resurrection power, but we don’t want to be crucified with Christ, and then find we live, not us but Christ in us. If we want to know him intimately, we must be willing to suffer for and with him, and become like him, not my will but thine be done, Lord. In dying to self, in walking through suffering, persecution, struggles, and strife, the cross firmly across our shoulders, then we know him in resurrection power.
Do you really want to know Christ?
Take his hand, yes, you will lie in green pastures, and drink from still waters. But you will also go through shadows and valleys, know the hot breath of enemies, and yes he will correct and protect. But the tablelands are ours, and as we look behind, we find goodness and mercy follow as we follow him, and his home is our dwelling place forevermore. THEN we will really know Christ.
O. Chambers says “The spiritual saint … sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing knowledge of Jesus Christ” and “The Holy Spirit is determined that we shall realize Jesus Christ in every domain of life, and he will bring as back to the same point again and again until we do (My Utmost for His Highest – July 11)