EVERYTHING: Do I Know Him? (pt.4)
"That I may know Him."
This was the heart of Paul’s message- to deeply, intimately, and personally know Christ, whatever the cost.
Over the past few months, I have been challenged to evaluate the intentionality and motivation in my pursuit of Christ as my everything. Paul's final words in these verses invite me to explore the question: Do I truly know Christ?
Do I seek to personally know the heart of my Savior?
As with any relationship, trust is built upon the knowledge of one’s character. When we press into knowing Christ, we begin to experience the safety in surrendering everything to Him.
To know Christ.
This is everything,
In the final verses of our study in Philippians 3, Paul continues to share his faithful pursuit of Christ. He explains the depth of his motivations in verses 10-12 saying:
“That I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
These verses reflect the utmost call of our lives which is to know Christ and become like Him. So, How do we begin to know Him more and evaluate our knowledge of Him?
In a commentary on Philippians 3, Charles Spurgeon frames the pursuit of knowing Christ in four distinct ways which I will use to unpack these last few verses.
1. We Recognize Him
"That I may know Him..."
Naturally, the first step in knowing someone is to personally recognize them apart from a stranger. Paul’s first step in knowing Christ came in his recognition of the voice of Christ (Acts 9:1-22). Before Paul’s initial interaction with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he did not know or believe in the personhood of Christ as Lord. It was Paul’s encounter with Jesus which allowed Him to enter into a relationship with Him.
Have we experienced Christ in this personal way? Even more important, do we have a personal relationship with Him? Or have we based our knowledge of Him on Sunday morning sermons and the top podcast picks?
What Paul encountered in his interaction with Christ was something that so transformed His life, that he was then able to say, I count EVERYTHING AS LOSS, that I may gain Christ.
Oh, that we may begin to recognize the voice of Christ in such a way that allows us to say the same.
2. We Know What He Does
"and the power of his resurrection..."
What is a common question you get asked when you meet someone for the first time? I would guess something along the lines of, “What do you do?”. This is a great question when it comes to evaluating our knowledge of Christ.
What is Christ known for?
Do we know what Christ has done for us?
This second step within the continuum of knowing Christ is such a significant one. By exploring the works of Christ, we define His character and learn to place our trust in Him as our Savior.
The true character of Christ is fully displayed in the power of the resurrection to bring salvation to our souls.
In Ephesians 2:4-10 Paul explains the significance of the resurrection saying,
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
As I read these words, I am overwhelmed by the grace and mercy given to me through Christ’s suffering. To know the weight of Christ's grace, invites us to extend such unexplainable grace.
3. We interact with Him
"...and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.."
Can you know anyone if you don’t spend time with them, communicate with them, or share meaningful experiences with them?
I don’t know about you, but some of the most beautiful moments I have had with Jesus have been brought by unexpected blows of heartache and pain. These sufferings Paul gladly welcomed, saying at the end of verse 10, “and may share in His sufferings, becoming like him in his death that by any means necessary I attain the resurrection.”
This fellowship in sufferings is what is talked about in 1 Peter 4:12-13;19 which says,
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed…. Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good."
Peter's words reflects Paul’s explanation of suffering in Romans 8, when he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (8v18)."
And then reminds us of how suffering will find its purpose,
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (8v28-29).”
One commentary explains suffering as the capacity and privilege of experiencing a strong feeling which is preparing us to know the Lord better now and forever in glory.
Oh, how I desire to view my pain in this way.
How often I find myself begging God to remove what He, in His sovereignty, allows to soften my soul so it may be formed to reflect His very own. .
I am coming to learn that to make Christ my everything starts with allowing Him to take the place of everything.
For in doing so, my heart is emptied of anything that may entangle me from becoming more like Him.
4. We are invited in by Him
"...because Christ Jesus has made me his own."
We all love invitations. The offer of inclusion gifts our hearts with the knowledge that we are loved and wanted. In verse 12, Paul makes one of the most powerful statements in this passage which I, again and again, remind my soul.
He says, “ Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Why do I seek to make Jesus my EVERYTHING? Because Christ Jesus has made me His Everything.
Oh, how different would we be if we lived in this truth every single day!
Christ has invited us to be known by Him, loved by Him and given His very own name.
First John 4 reminds us that,
“In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (4V10-11).
Have we accepted this invitation to belong to Christ? Can we truly say, we know and believe the love that God has for us?
Friend, I pray that if nothing else, that you come to know that Christ's love is sufficient, His grace is endless, and His heart is reckless for you.
May we like Paul, press on to make Christ our own. Forgetting what is behind us, straining forward to what lies ahead. Pressing on towards the goal of making Christ our EVERYTHING.