Paul knew Jesus. He experienced him personally on the road to Damascus. Paul was inspired. Paul had the Spirit. Paul had visions. Paul knew Jesus but there was still much to learn and Paul’s deep desire was to come to know him more!
Paul wrote this about knowing Jesus:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:7-10, NIV)
Is there anything worth more than knowing Christ? Any amount of influence? Any amount of affluence? Wealth? Status?
There isn’t anything greater than knowing Christ. Paul gave it all up to go deeper with Jesus.
“There isn’t anything greater than knowing Christ.”
Think of all the things Paul had attained that many aspire to but never accomplish. He was highly educated by the best teachers. He was a Pharisee. He was respected. Many people wanted what Paul had but never achieved it.
Paul considered all that “rubbish” in comparison to gaining Christ.
As we look ahead to 2023 and all the plans and goals we might have for ourselves…as we consider the gains we hope to make, the things we wish to learn, the places we want to go and the experiences we want to have…let us make sure that all else pales in comparison to a year of coming to know Christ more deeply.
Now for the hard part…
Coming to know Jesus isn’t just about reading your Bible. That’s a BIG part of it, but there is more to it than that. And this is where it gets hard. To really know someone means to go through what they went through.
Paul tells us the path to a deeper walk with Christ: “to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection of the dead.” (3:10). The word for participation there is koinonia (often translated fellowship). To have fellowship with Christ is to participate in His suffering. Challenging for sure!
May this aspiration be one that we adopt in 2023. This is my commitment in the new year—to abide in Christ more deeply. To get uncomfortable for and with Jesus. To speak more boldly for Jesus. To rely on him more consistently and to a greater degree than ever before.
“To have fellowship with Christ is to participate in His suffering.”
Here are a few things I am going to be doing in 2023 to connect more deeply with Christ:
- Be in the Gospels on a regular basis—to really hear what he taught
- To try to live obediently to what Jesus taught
- To share what Jesus taught with others regularly
- To read more about Jesus (books outside the Bible)
- To get back on a regular fasting rhythm
- To do more writing and videos on the teachings and person of Jesus
Will you join me? Can we help each other and encourage each other on this journey?
From MattDabbs.com. Used with permission.