(originally published March 19, 2015)
Have you ever spent so much time with a person that you began to talk, laugh, or even act like them? I have, and luckily I took after some pretty amazing people. I've picked up some southern twang and infectious laughter thanks to some of my best friends. Truth is, when we spend a lot of time with people, we can become like them. The same truth stands when we spend time with Christ -- the more time we spend with him, the more we become like him.
Knowing Christ is central to everything about us; why we do what we do and are who we are. Paul understood this, and passionately exclaimed it in Philippians 3:10.
"[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 more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death." (Amplified Bible)
When Paul penned this chapter, he used a term about "know(ing)" a few times and it's interesting that when he uses it, he's not suggesting an intellectual knowledge like many of us would assume. When he uses it, he's suggesting a personal knowledge. He wants to know as much as he can about Christ and be in deep, intimate relationship with him. He wants to share in all things with his Savior.
We have many wonderful things to keep us occupied: family, jobs, hobbies, friendships. These are all wonderful things but we are absolutely missing it if that's what are lives become about. It's so very devastating, to ourselves and others, when the order of God above all else is tipped.
There are three brief points to draw from this verse that are simple to remember and easy to put into action.
- Pursue: Paul wanted to progressively know Christ. It's key to relationship with him! Just like you would spend time with family and friends, you must spend time with Christ. You can't have a relationship without input. You pursue Christ when you pray and worship.
- Understand: Paul desired to understand the wonders of God and the power of His resurrection. He knew it was important in having that relationship. When we read the Bible, we are reading the very tool God gave us to know Him. It provides pretty much everything we need to know!
- Share: Paul added he wanted to share in Christ's suffering...bet you didn't see that coming. A huge part in our transformation is sharing in his suffering. It allows us to relate and connect with him, and in suffering we are purified. Nothing refines us like suffering!
If I could leave you with one thing, it would be this: knowing the life, death and resurrection of Christ to the extent of an intimate relationship is more important than anything else in your life. You'll be a better parent, friend, spouse and employee because of your devotion to Christ. Time with him will never be lost.
I pray this devotion moves you to pursuing Christ at a greater level. Challenges you to discipline yourself for the pursuit, understanding and sharing in suffering required for transformation. You can't have the latter without those three elements. Seek him out today, among the proverbial cluttered and noisy streets you walk each day in life. Transformation starts at relationship.
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being cold/distant and 10 being intimate/warm), where would you place your devotion to a relationship with Christ? If it's not where you would like for it to be, what are your thoughts concerning why this might be? And how would you move the needle up?