Philippians 3:10-11 (NLT)
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
I want to know Christ is a powerful declaration when one’s heart is sincere. Do you really want to know Jesus Christ? Or are we really just trying to get the secret password to Heaven or the combination to the safe that holds all of His Blessings for our life? It may sound silly until we really think about it. How much time do you actually spend getting to know God on a one-on-one basis? Are you willing to wrestle with rational thinking and overwhelming opinions to know the Truth about who He is and His Intentions for you? Is Jesus Christ worth any effort in your life? I want to experience the mighty power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead but am I willing to suffer to do so sharing in His Death and holding on until I know the full power and glory of His Name. Yes, I want to know Christ.
To know means more than recalling someone’s name or what you have heard about them. To really know someone requires intimacy and trust to get to the heart of the matter. In a world filled with texting and internet dating who has time to sit and talk awhile when we can abbreviate our emotions in words and emoticons. Clean connections with very little interaction do not seem as messy but lack the sincerity of true knowledge and intimacy that is required to actually know and love someone. To know is to experience. Such an experience creates understanding that is true and relevant making it truth to the individual. God is not a fictitious character in a book. Jesus is not the focal point of a tragic love story. The Holy Spirit is not the next superstar of Ghost Busters or the Missing Link. To really know the Lord is true power in the life of every believer. It requires some effort on your part to know the Lord but the blessing will outweigh the risk as we destroy all strongholds of doubt that precludes us from the Resurrection Power of God in our life. God has given you the power to know Him. He has hidden the desire in your heart. Jesus made a way for us to overcome every obstacle hindering us from such knowledge and His Spirit leads us into His Presence. The only one in question is you! What are you true intentions in your relationship with Jesus Christ? If it is to really know the Lord, it is time to press in.
Isaiah 43:10-11 (NLT)
“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the LORD. “You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the LORD, and there is no other Savior.”
The Lord has blessed me with a glorified grocery-getter that is currently parked safely in the garage. It is a good and reliable automobile that transports me from place to place hauling the kids, groceries even the dog. However, if I do not hop in the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition – the truck isn’t moving. It will sit where it is gathering dust but become of no use to our family. I have everything I need to hit the road. I have a driver license that gives me permission to navigate the roadways and proves I am able to operate a motor vehicle. I have gas in the tank. The garage door is open. The only thing left is my desire to go somewhere. This may seem elementary but it is so vital that men and women of God take the initiative to know God beyond basic saving knowledge. God has done more than provide a way for us to be saved. Jesus died to give us life ABUNDANTLY. Living anything less is a waste of time. The Holy Spirit will guide you on the path of righteousness that leads to the supernatural life God intended for you. Are you willing to start the car and press the gas? To know God is a choice. You must make the conscious decision to know the Lord, believe in Him and understand His Sovereign Power to understand the true potential of His Mercy, Grace and Love.
I Chronicles 28:9 (NLT)
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”
The words of King David to His Son, Solomon resonates in the heart of every Child of God through His Spirit. We are encouraged to learn to know God intimately. We are to worship and serve Him with our whole heart AND willing mind. This is a vitally important partnership because God is love. We cannot properly know the Lord and serve Him unless we know and understand fully comprehending the capacity of His Great Love for us. The Lord sees our heart. He knows our motivation in seeking Him. On a recent visit to my favorite hair salon as my stylist was working her magic on my limp, lifeless hair, a friend came in to return a hammer. He laid the old rusty hammer on the counter and began to chat. After a few moments, he asked to borrow some money which she gave him and he was gone. Looking at the sad tool, I commented that I would expect her hammer to be glamorous and bedazzled like her. She picked up the hammer, laughed and said, “This isn’t my hammer, but he needed an excuse to ask me for money.” I wonder how many times we approach God and think He does not see our true intentions. If we only press into His Presence when we need something, what kind of relationship does that create? Intimacy with God requires daily effort or we become like everybody else who wants something for nothing.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
We are called to know Jesus Christ. It is important to press for this mark and high calling in life above anything else we desire. A lack of knowledge is dangerous. It is the point where people perish because they do not really know the Lord as He requires. (Hosea 4:6) If you do not know the truth about God – you will easily be led astray by any lie the enemy hurls your way. Even religion poses an inherent risk to ignorant Christians. God is calling us to know Him more and more. It will take patient endurance to unravel the great mysteries of God too complex for weak human reasoning. As God expands our knowledge of His Love, it changes us from the inside out. Emptying our own selfish ideas and pride, there is more room for understanding of His Love to grow and expand in our life. God promises to restore those who are willing to press in! (Hosea 6:2-3) I don’t know about you but there is not a day that goes by that I could not benefit from God’s Restoring and Resurrection Power in my life. God does want some religious sacrifice or monetary offering from you. What the Lord desires most is a heart and mind surrendering to knowing Him more at all costs. (Hosea 6:6) We demonstrate such understanding in our ability to love others with the Love of Christ giving our life away for more of His Amazing Love.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Nobody is perfect. You are not perfect. Your parents are not perfect. Your kids are not perfect. Your spouse is not perfect and could certainly say the same thing about you. Your pastor is not perfect. There is not one perfect member in the church. We are perfected and complete in Jesus alone. There is nothing that I can do to change me. Only the Spirit of God living inside of me can transform me into an acceptable sacrifice. But that can only occur if I am humble enough to give my life to Jesus Christ and allow Him to each me to know God’s Will which is good, pleasing and perfect. I don’t know of anyone today that can honestly say that they have abandoned all the Jesus Christ. Grace allows us to try and make it bridging the gap of human insufficiency. Pride is a worthy adversary greedily trying to withhold bits and pieces of our heart and mind from fully knowing, understanding and trusting God! To let it all go and allow the Lord to fully transform our life into a living sacrifice is to release all of our life to serve God without any consideration for ourselves. God wants you to know Him. But He has left the choice up to you! To make such a choice begins a dramatic conversion in the heart and mind of every believer. Saul became Paul with such a commitment. (Acts 22:14-15) God planned for you to know Him and prepared your footsteps through life with this in mind. He provided everything you would need. His Promises are reserved for those who stick around to really know His Great Name. His Blessing is reserved for the one who refuses to let go until they know His Name. (Genesis 32:28-30) How long will you hold on to your faith? Will you refuse to let go until it is transformed to confident hope by knowing and understanding the dimensions of God’s Love for you?
Philippians 3:5-7 (NLT)
I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
Religion is a good thing. It is an opportunity for discipleship and teaching. However, when religion overpowers our relationship to Jesus Christ what began as a benefit now becomes detrimental. Saul thought that he was serving the One True and Living God when he persecuted the Christians and early church. He slept soundly at night completely validated in his actions. He followed the letter of God’s Law and was a very religious man. It was not until Saul met Jesus Christ and took the name Paul that he met the Lord face-to-face. It is important that believers are very careful not to hand the keys of the kingdom given to us by Jesus Christ back to religion. “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” (Luke 11:52) There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord speaks to and through Billy Graham, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen and many other men and women of God today! But the truth is that the Lord living on the inside would really like you to get to know Him one-on-one. Use these teachers to supplement your study of God’s Word and guide you but when we become solely fed by the regurgitated words of others never hearing the Word of God whispered in our ear or revealed by His Spirit as we read God’s Word – we have missed the greatest blessing of all time. When Jesus said, “It is finished”, He allowed us open access to the Presence of God. We do not need a pastor, preacher, apostle or teacher to lead us there. His Spirit inside us immediately will transport us there through a transformed life. Now we can enter His Presence boldly! (Hebrews 10:19) It is a sin to have access to the Lord and never enter in! To know the Truth and not do it is a violation. (James 4:17) God is inviting you to His Presence. He wants you to know Him. His Son opened the door. His Spirit is guiding you in. (I John 2:27-28) All you must do is choose to go!
I Corinthians 8:1-3 (NLT)
Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
Religion attributes knowledge to personal power. But I found in my relationship with Jesus Christ that the more knowledge of God’s Amazing Love and Character, the less I think of myself. As pride is crucified, it is easier to love others as we think less and less of self. No longer is self-exaltation an option as we encounter the Grace and Mercy of God filled with Goodness and Kindness never witnessed before it changes us. We can no longer compare ourselves to others but now see how important love is. As believers we must be very careful to understand the power of Godly Knowledge and Wisdom always leads us to love. No matter what doctrine we choose to follow it must always be on a foundation of love. God is love. (I John 4:8) The more we know the Lord the less we can think of ourselves as His Love consumes us overpowering selfishness giving way to the fruit of His Spirit (Colossians 1:9-11) beginning with love and growing into “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) None of these things benefit us as much as they are an outpouring of God’s Spirit into the life of others. His Love completes us in knowing His Character. Our faith allows us to love others extravagantly because that is how the Lord loves us. Those who know Jesus can experience the abundance of His Love every day. They will be satisfied and content living in the peace and joy that exceeds human understanding! You have no excuse God planned for you to know Him like this. He provided everything you need so that you could concentrate on this effort. He has every promise imaginable waiting for your arrival in His Presence as you live in the Resurrection Power of God transformed by just knowing Him more! One day you will see that Christ is ALL that matters!
Colossians 3:10-11 (NLT)
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us.