Where are you at with God? Do you know Him? I want to encourage you to stop being comfortable with how much you do, and get to know Him more. There is so much more of God’s character for us to get to know and, as we get to know Him more, we grow in faith.
Read Philippians 3:1-11.
There was a man who was persecuting Jesus’ followers. On the road to a place called Damascus, Jesus appeared to him powerfully and said “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” After a few other things happened (which are explained in Acts 9), Saul was born again of the Spirit and became known as Paul. He went on to spend his life advancing and defending the gospel. He took the Good News of Christ all the way to Rome, the centre of civilisation at the time, and from there it exploded throughout the whole Empire. On his journeys, he was flogged, beaten, shipwrecked (x3) and stoned. Many times he found himself cold, naked, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, for the sake of Christ. You know what I’m thinking, if anyone knows and loves Christ, surely it’s this guy.
Now, be astounded by what he has to say about knowing Christ in the passage we just read. He says “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7). He tallies up all his worldly possessions, accreditations, “righteousness” and he realises it’s all worth nothing; it's loss. He switched that all out for Christ, for whose sake he’s lost absolutely all of that ‘rubbish’ (or 'crap', in the original language) as he calls it. He compares it with the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ, and being found IN HIM. He goes on to say “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead”. Now, when he says he wants to know Christ, he doesn’t just mean it in the English sense of, ‘I’ve met him and chatted to him a couple of times’. In Paul's world, to know someone is to enter into a relationship with the deepest intimacy and union. Having been saved wholly and solely by Christ, Paul wants to have the deepest possible union with Him. He wants to know him.
From the dramatic conversion encounter until now, this has been his goal in his relationship with Christ. And still, he wants to know Christ further. He wants to know him more. That’s Paul, an Apostle of Christ, what about you? Keep exploring, there is so much more in God.
Now, I’m a great lover of motorbikes, I could ride them all day long and I’ve recently got into test riding all sorts of bikes for a giggle on my day off. The other day I rode a bike classed as an “adventurer/explorer” style bike. I tell you what, that bike could have taken me anywhere on any terrain, it was fantastic. My point is that, if you want to explore, you need the right vehicle, and for me that will almost always be a bike. Unless we’re talking about exploring God, in which case. . .
Scripture. God has chosen to make himself known to us through his holy Word. David says in Psalm 119:
"For I delight in your commands because I love them. I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees."
He absolutely loved God’s word. Let’s pray that Christ would develop within us a love for Scripture - that we may use it fully as the vehicle it is to get to know God more. Let’s listen in and take seriously those sermons we hear each week, from faithful people who open up Scripture with us. And in our own personal prayer life, recognise that we explore our Lord’s character by His Holy Spirit as we dwell in His presence. How’s that prayer life going? Keep exploring. Because, as Paul came to a deeper knowledge of Christ, He was more dedicated to, and found more wonder in, Jesus. We’ve got to take it from Paul, and ceaselessly explore God more.