Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Knowing Christ - Journal for 3/22/11

Scripture: Philippians 3:7-11
"I want to know Christ!"

Observation:

As Paul relates his extraordinary qualifications he compares their value against the privilege of knowing Christ. Christ wins! To go even further, Paul says that those things are like rubbish (trash and recycling) compared to the sheer joy of knowing Christ.

His only desire is to be found in Christ with a righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. The phrase in Christ is a unique phrase in the NT. As believers we possess unimaginable blessings because of our relationship to Christ as being in him. In him we have all that we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).

I love verse 10 where Paul says that his purpose in life is to know Christ. That is my passion as well. Of all the titles that I have (pastor, husband, father, friend, etc.) the one I treasure most is follower of Jesus Christ. I live my life to know him. Note: I'm not complete here and Paul wasnt either (check out Phil 3:12) but I press on towards that goal.

Application:

Knowing Christ is more than an intellectual exercise. I have a library of thousands of books that teach me about Christ. But only one that teaches me to know Christ. If you could take all of my resources, please leave me a copy of the Scriptures. From them I am learning to know Christ.

I have a BA and a Masters (and nearly a doctorate) to list as "profit". I would trade it all in a heartbeat if I could know Christ and share in his life and sufferings. I must continually discipline myself to direct my learning towards knowing Christ rather than knowing about Christ. I don't want to teach something that I don't live. I want to live the life Christ has for me and lead people to know Christ in the same way.

Yesterday I had the stitches removed from a minor hand surgery (to fix a "trigger finger"). Successful! But I now have a small, inch-long scar in my palm. I use my left hand for everything. Primarily, it is my writing hand. Figuratively, I can look at my hand as a symbol of my "profit": my education, my profession, and my experience. Or now I can put the pen aside and look at the scar that reminds me that I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. I want to know him.

Prayer:
Today, Lord, I count up my profits and compare them to the value of knowing you. Christ wins! Forgive me for holding on to things that have little or no value and treasuring them above you. Create in me a desire to know you. I won't settle for all the world's knowledge about you. I want to know you and share in your life and even in your sufferings. As I follow you today, walk with me as you walked with your followers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) and teach me about you. May my heart burn within me as I hear you speak of your amazing love for me. Today I want to know you and love you more and be found in Christ with a righteousness that comes through faith - not by works. In the name of the One I long to know more fully, Amen.

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