Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Rachel and I greatly value your willingness to join us in prayer each Wednesday for the prodigals and for revival. Let’s not forget the main reason why we pray: it’s for the honor and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 3, Paul speaks of the worth of Christ and how knowing Him is the apex of human existence. He relates his personal journey of how God brought him from emptiness to fullness, from religion to reality, and literally from self to Christ. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phi.3:8). These words are powerful and profound, and ultimately they express what every person must realize in order to enjoy true meaning in life.
Paul is saying that the all-surpassing, all-encompassing, all important reality in life is knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. The question is, “Do we know Him?” Or, “Do we know Him more today than we used to know Him?” Or, “Are we growing in our appreciation of Him?”
What does it mean to know Him? I see a fourfold answer from this chapter:
First, it means to evaluate everything in light of Him. So often, like Paul, we try to get approval from our family heritage, from great deeds we’ve done, or from the honor we have received from others. Look at the list from verses four to six. It’s all there. He says, “Of the tribe of Benjamin...a Pharisee...a persecutor of the church...as to righteousness under the law, blameless.” But he concludes by saying that it’s nothing; it’s less than nothing; it’s loss; it’s actually damage. The things he thought were profitable in living for God were actual losses, and in comparison to Christ, they were worthless rubbish. What we learn is that while some of these things may be okay in themselves, they are not the things that bring true intimacy with Christ.
Second, it means to be found in Him. This is the truth of verse nine: “And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Being found in Him is a phrase used to describe what God has done in placing us into His family. This is what every believer can claim. Being found in Him is granted to us by God when we put faith in Christ. He makes us righteous, not through self-effort but through the person and work of Christ.
Third, it means to be infused by His power. This is the wonderful truth of verse ten, “That I may know him and the power of His resurrection.” The divine power at work in miraculously raising Christ from the dead is the exact same power at work in us so that we can do the things God wants us to do for Him. So often we try to live life on our own strength. It is always a failure when we take this route. It is His work and it requires His enabling to get it done.
Fourth, it means to be a partaker of His sufferings. Paul continued in verse ten to say, “And may share in His sufferings becoming like Him in His death.” Our Lord is rejected, despised and hated in our world, and any link or association with Him will bring a certain degree of suffering. For some, it will be more than others. While it is never easy, we should count it a privilege to suffer for the sake of His name.
The experience of self-emptying, the God-declaring truth of being made righteous, the thrilling reality of divine enabling, and the privilege of suffering with our Lord Jesus are all involved in what it means to “know Him.” It’s much more than knowing academically. It’s experiencing Him in our lives. It’s truly living life with Jesus!
May we live with Him today as we pray.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel