‘My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death’ (Philippians 3:10 HCSB)
As part of my spiritual discipline I read the Bible through each year. I challenge myself with new translations. I discovered Holman Christian Standard Bible a few years back and enjoy the way God’s Word is put together. In reading God’s Word in different translations, I gain a new perspective on what the Lord is wanting to speak into my life.
So, when I read that Paul’s goal was to know Him I took note. This is more than a passing thought. The Amplified Translation says: “For My determined purpose is”- that I may know Him that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving, and recognising, and understanding Him…being continually transformed… into His likeness…”
Paul here is describing his intensive desire, his burning desire, his hunger and thirst that involves the a disciplined choice and intentional behaviour.
“Most of us know about God, but that is quite different from knowing God.” -Billy Graham
Where did Paul catch this vision and become totally absorbed with this passion of knowing Jesus? Paul’s major focus in life dramatically reversed itself on the Damascus Road. It was a pivotal, life-changing event. He often referred to how it brought perspective and priority to his life. Do you remember Paul’s response to Christ after a light and a voice that caused him to fall to the ground blinded? A broken Paul could only ask first, “Who are you, LORD?” And THEN he asked, “What do you want me to do? That order never changed in Paul’s life.
He had been captured and enthralled by a Person – Jesus Christ – and THEN to a mission to touch the Gentile world with the Gospel. He believed that to be in harmony with the great Commission was to be in harmony with Jesus first. Paul never allowed his primary passion of knowing Christ to be overridden by his global vision for the world. His burden and desire to bring the Gospel to the Gentile world flowed out of his passion to know Christ. Ministry to people was the result of an overflow of abiding in and knowing Christ
Was Paul an exception, or is this the pattern of other godly leaders in Scripture? Consider these spiritual leaders from God’s Word. What was their ultimate testimony from God’s point of view? Look at the pattern of what was important to God?
Abraham – “God’s friend
Job – “My servant Job”
Moses – “My servant and friend.” God spoke to Moses “face to face.”
Enoch – “Enoch walked with God”
Caleb – “He wholeheartedly followed the Lord”.
Ezra – “God’s hand was on him, for he devoted and disciplined himself to study, practice and teach the law
David – “For He is a man after my own heart…he relies on and depends on me continually…he walks before me in integrity of heart”
Solomon – “Loved by his God”
Jehoshaphat- “He sought God; his heart was devoted to the ways of God”
Asa – “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life”
Hezekiah – “He sought his God and worked wholeheartedly, and so he prospered”
Josiah – “As long as he lived he did not fail to follow the Lord”
Daniel – “Esteemed by his God”
John – “Disciple whom Jesus loved”
What was important and valued by God in these leaders was evidenced by what God called them – what they were known for by God.
Was Paul an exception? Absolutely not. It is obvious a pattern had emerged long before Paul, of those who wanted to know God at a deeper level. Has anything changed today? I think not!
Should this not be our aim we set ourselves in life? To know God.
What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment than anything else? To know God.
Consider as I end this blog these portions of Scripture:
“Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:24)
“He made known His ways (His very nature and character) to Moses.” (Psalm 103:7)
“Show me your ways that I might know You.” (Exodus 33:11)
“May He give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you might know Him better.” (Ephesians 1:17)
“Now this is eternal life: that they might know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
What do we want God to reveal to us? … just His works, or His nature and self through an intimate relationship?
We have a goal: To know God