Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's about who ya know,,,

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7–11

What does it mean to really know someone? Our culture today places a huge emphasis on knowing one’s self. That if we “know” ourselves we will find peace and a purpose for our lives. We hear tails of people in the 60’s leaving their homes to “find themselves,” as if leaving everything that shaped them as a person; family, friends, and familiar surroundings would magically open up who they truly were as a person. The problem with “knowing ourselves” is that we become a self-centered person who is just concerned with, you guessed it, SELF. What we see time and time again is that self-centered people are not really pleasant people to be around. They are so concerned with their own success and development that they fail to develop their character; they only develop a persona - an image that is merely surface deep.

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was not concerned with knowing himself - his drive and passion was to know Jesus. To him, Jesus was real; so much so that he directed his life in pursuit of this relationship with his Lord and Savior. Paul clearly wrote that everything he accomplished in life, every good thing and every bad thing was rubbish when compared with his relationship with Jesus. He was encouraging the people of the Philippian church to come to the same mindset; nothing is or will ever be more important than your personal relationship with Jesus. And the true basis for this relationship is faith. It is faith that we put our trust fully in God’s word and live to honor God. Faith is a requirement for pleasing God. It is not simply being a good person; it is not simply living by rules and regulations; it is not by going to church every week. Don’t get me wrong, these are something we should strive toward, but they won’t get me into heaven. They won’t in themselves lead us to a relationship with God. The only thing that will is a surrendered life, a life of faith. Saying and living for God the truth that is only Jesus Christ. Paul realized the gift that God gave him (Jesus Christ), and Paul determined in his life that he was going to pursue Jesus with everything he had. Pure Passion!

How about you today? Is your life consumed with the living Savior and knowing Him more? Or is it consumed with the worldly pleasures of this life? If you are a Christ-follower then your drive and passion must be Jesus; He demands nothing less. When Jesus would ask people to follow Him He never sugarcoated what the commitment would demand. In the gospel of Luke Jesus says some pretty tough words to anyone who would follow Him:
23 And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

As Christ-followers we are called to know Jesus -- not just “know of Him”. We are called to connect with Jesus on a daily basis and grow in that relationship. Are you doing that? I have just some quick suggestions on how to grow with Jesus…

  1. Pray more today than you did yesterday, and ask Him to help you “know Him better”
  2. Read the Bible…immerse yourself in the Scriptures for this is how God speaks to us
  3. Spend time in silence…meditate on God’s word and soak up his presence. Psalm 46:10 says Be still, and know that I am God
  4. Find a life group where you can experience this wonderful journey of faith with other Christ-followers, and learn to connect with God with a group of your friends
Hope you have a great week,
Rejoicing always for you all,
Pastor Jay

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