For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things . . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:8b, 10 (ESV)
For Christ’s sake Paul suffered the loss of all things, counting them as rubbish, for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. The Amplified Bible renders Paul’s thoughts this way: [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding [the wonders of His person] more strongly and clearly.
We get to know Christ first of all by receiving him as Savior and Lord of our lives. He must first know us before we can know him. Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. (John 10:14 ESV) Knowing Christ is eternally important in that eternal life depends on it. Jesus prayed to his Father, And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 ESV)
After many of Jesus’ disciples turned away from him, he asked the twelve if they too would leave. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 ESV) They came to know Christ first by revelation of the Holy Spirit then believed. Secondly, they spent time with him. They observed his life, listened to his words and became familiar with his ways. They first believed then pursued.
Getting to know Christ doesn’t stop once we receive him as Savior; it is a progression. We will never fully know Christ in this life, but we should actively pursue him until we see him face to face. Our pursuit to know Christ includes spending time with him in prayer, in worship, in teaching, in preaching and especially by reading the gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each gospel differs in the way it depicts Christ and together gives us all we need to know to become intimately acquainted with him.
Jesus Christ was central to the apostle Paul’s ministry. He expressed the value he put on knowing Christ to the Corinthian church when he wrote, For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV) And the apostle Peter realized that knowing Christ was a growth process in the lives of believers. He wrote, But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18 ESV)
Could it be that our churches are inundated with people who know doctrine, ritual, denominational by-laws and the entire religious lingo, yet do not know Christ? Could it be that there are many professing Christians who know a lot about Christ but are not enthralled with the wonders of his person? Could it be that there are many churchgoers that have received Christ as Savior but have not pursued an intimate acquaintance with him? Could it be that many people who believe in Christ fail to recognize that increasingly knowing Christ is eternally important? And would they be willing to suffer the loss of all things to gain the infinite worth of knowing Christ?
How important is knowing Christ to you?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Peter 1:2