“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection…” – Philippians 3:10a
Over and over we see that the Apostle Paul is not moved by large churches, new movements, house church attendance but his main focus is to know Christ more deeply. Paul was so focused upon the glory of God and His mission that it moved Him to act. The character of God was the fuel for Paul’s life. Yes, Paul did focus on killing sin (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) but it was ultimately focused upon Christ’s finished work and resurrection (Romans 7:25, 8:1).
This morning I had breakfast / coffee with a dear friend and we discussed the first two chapters of J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. Packer says in the beginning of the second chapter:
“Not many of us, I think, would ever naturally say that we have known God. The words imply a definiteness and matter-of-factness of experience to which most of us, if we are honest, have to admit that we are still strangers. We claim, perhaps, to have a testimony, and can rattle off our conversion story with the best of them; we say that we know God — this, after all, is what is evangelicals are expected to say; but would it occur to us to say, without hesitation, and with reference to particular events in our personal history, that we have known God? I doubt it, for I suspect that with most of us experience of God has never become so vivid as that.”
Packer hit the nail square on the head by diagnosing the main problem in modern, western Evangelicalism. The church needs a rebirth of desire in the area of knowing God for simply knowing God. Our aim is not to pursue to attain but to pursue because He is our ultimate attainment. We press deep into Christ because He has the riches found in Himself. We don’t come to God as a spiritual vending machine waiting to give us our reward based upon the right amount of effort we put in. Rather, we chase after Christ because He is the ultimate goal.
In John chapter 6, Jesus teaches the Pharisees a hard lesson (even the disciples say it’s a tough lesson). Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” After the Pharisees and a lot of Jesus ”disciples’ bailed on Jesus because of His ‘ridiculous’ message – Jesus turns to the disciples and says, “Do you want to leave also?” Peter’s response is excellent and one the church needs to have, “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).
Where else can we turn? We know that all things will fail us – money, cars, jobs, security, family, self – as the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes, “All is vanity.” May the church today have a rebirth of wanting to chase and know God simply because who He is. May we run with endurance the race set before us. May we, with eyes unwavering – gaze upon the risen Christ and behold His glory. To quote John Piper, “God is more glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.” Chase Christ. Pursue Christ. Yearn for Christ. Long for Christ. Delight in Christ.
“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.“