Monday, January 7, 2019

The Passion of Paul

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, hat by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 3:7-11

When he wrote the words above, Paul was seeking intimate relationship and fellowship with his Savior, Creator, Sovereign God.  He knew that just knowing about God was not the same. He had given up everything he had known because he had learned that truly knowingGod was more important than anything else he had previously thought important.  I love this translation of verses 10 and 11 from The Message: I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. He wanted all in, all the way.  This was his passion.  He also knew that he wanted resurrection from the dead, his own dead soul.  Knowing God is the only way to that resurrection.  
Knowledge that is meaningful is synonymous with experience. To truly know God, we must experience God.  And to truly experience God, we must have a relationship with Him. It is not enough to simply know the facts about Him but KNOW Him from experience...from relationship. Anytime we have a relationship with anyone it is a two-way street. When we want to know another person better, we make an effort, we spend time with them and work at getting to know them.  God wants us to want to know Him better too. He is the lover of our souls and pursues a relationship with us but until we have a sold-out devotion to getting to know Him, like Paul did, we won’t truly have a relationship with Him. When we realize that nothing we have been chasing and valuing is as important as He is then we can begin to know Him.
We can get to know God better by: 
·     Examining your view of God– Do you see God as a confidante? A father figure?  Do you see Him as compassionate, merciful, loving, and kind? What kind of God do you serve?  
·     Spending time getting to know Him– read your Bible, study, find a mentor.
·     Spending time talking to Him– pray, pray, pray!  Tell Him everything and give it all to Him – with expectation!  
·     Giving it up– give up what you value more than Him.  Give up your will for His will. Give up your everything for His resurrection of your life.  
Knowing God will lead to the resurrection from the dead lives we live when we don’t truly know Him.  May we all find the passion of Paul to know God and to rid our lives of everything in which we have “gained”, to count as loss for the sake of Christ. 

Scripture to Claim:But now, by dying to what once bound us (i.e. the law), we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:6

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