“That I May Know Him” -Philippians 3:10
One of my favorite places to eat ice cream is Cold Stone Creamery. There you can order three sizes: like it (small), love it (medium), and gotta have it (large). Using this as a spiritual example, if you were to use this as a scale to evaluate your spiritual hunger to know Jesus Christ, where would you grade yourself? If the Apostle Peter took this test, he would have said he loved Jesus.
Look at John 21:15-17 which says, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, feed my sheep.”
Notice some lessons:
Peter was backslidden and he didn’t know it. Could this be you?
Actions speaker louder than words. This is why the Lord Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep. Are you busy for the Master?
Jesus rebuked Peter three times to get his attention. Verse 17 says that Peter was grieved. Does God have to chastise you or allow bad circumstances in order to get your attention?
Peter failed the test. He didn’t love Jesus, he only liked him.
Now let me ask you, how well do you know Christ? Are you pursuing him like you gotta have him? To help you out, I have three thoughts I want to share with you from Phil. 3:10.
1. This Should Be Your Spiritual Goal Throughout Your Life
The Apostle Paul’s life goal can be summed up in Phil. 3:10, “That I may know him.” I can’t think of a better goal for a Christian than this. Any other goals are little and should be conformed to help you achieve this one primary goal: “That I may know him.” The Christian life is not after a what, but a who. Jesus Christ is your goal. Anything short of this goal is inexcusable. Will you make Phil. 3:10 your life goal?
I can’t think of a better Christian than Paul, yet he admits that he hadn’t reached his goal yet. Phil. 3:12 says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” The truth is no Christian will ever know Christ perfectly until he or she gets to heaven.
I’m sure there have been times that you have set goals for yourself. It may have been losing weight, being more organized, helping others, learning something new, getting out of debt, spending more time, or quitting a bad habit. If it was a New Year’s resolution, chances are you may have broken it by this time of the year.
Now ask yourself, “Why did it happen?” Let me offer some reasons:
All or nothing thinking: Thinking in terms of “success” or “failure” can be good as long as you are making progress. The joy of feeling like a success soon fades with the first minor setback, and you plunge into feeling like a total failure.
Dwelling on setbacks: Meditating on past failures sets you up for future failures. The only way to stop this is by following Paul’s advice in Phil. 3:13. He says, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
No plan: If you don’t have a plan of how you are going to achieve your goal, you will soon forget and give up. Write down your ideas or ways of keeping you focused, motivated and confident.
No accountability: Find an accountability partner who you can meet with from time to time and will monitor your progress. Best of all, keep yourself accountable to God. Rom. 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Not knowing why you want it: The motivating power of any goal comes from truly understanding why you want it. Just wanting to achieve a goal for it’s own sake may be a fine goal, but it won’t be enough to motivate you when you have to make sacrifices or suffer a setback. In Phil. 3:14, Paul says why he wants to achieve his goal. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
2. How Well You Know Christ Determines Your Spiritual Temperature
How well you know Christ is an accurate gauge to know your walk with the Lord. How well do you know him? How would he think, what would he think about ____, how would he react, what would he say, what would he do in a given situation? Knowing Jesus is more than head knowledge, it is a heart knowledge of your Lord and Savior.
If you are satisfied with where you are at spiritually, God calls it sin. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” How badly do you want to know him? I’m convinced that most Christians have put themselves on cruise control to coast through life.
Preachers and Sunday school teachers, are you guilty at times of reading the Bible looking for a sermon rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you? How many times has a message come alive during your devotional time? A good message will be communicated well when you first allow the message to speak to you.
In your prayer life, do you rush into the throne room of God to get your needs answered and leave God absent? Hey, do you know that he wants time with you? He wants you to meditate on him, to praise him, to talk to him like a friend?
3. Suggestions About Knowing Christ In A More Intimate Way
Set up a plan: This involves deciding when you will have devotions (Bible and prayer). If you don’t have a plan, other people and things will take up your time.
Categorize your priorities: I suggest you make a list of everything you do on a regular basis. Then categorize everything on your list from most important to least important. You will be surprised at how much time is wasted on matters that aren’t very important.
Go after people: Building relationships is key to developing Christlikeness in others.
Set aside all pride: God will reveal himself to those who have a humble and contrite spirit. Will you acknowledge your dependence upon the Lord? Will you sacrifice sleep in order to get a hold of God? Will you fast so that you can get the answer to your prayer? The choice is up to you. Can you say like Paul, “That I may know him.”
Will you make “knowing Jesus” the greatest passion of your life?