Paul had enough morality to keep him out of trouble, but not enough righteousness to get him into Heaven. He was a Pharisee and knew the Law as much as anyone. Paul seemed fine outwardly, but there was nothing inwardly.
“Don’t fall in love with the performance or the practice of Christianity, but fall in love with the person of Christianity!”
The aim of Paul’s life was to know Christ. This was his ultimate desire. This was more important to him than any other thing in his life. He literally felt that if he did not know God in an intimate way, he failed as a believer. Let’s look at the phrase, knowing God. The word, “know” is a very powerful word. It is the most powerful form of the word know that we have in Scripture. It is an intimate word used for strongly knowing someone. It is way more than just acquiring knowledge about a person.
I love sports. I enjoy Duke basketball, and I hope that this does not affect you exiting this blog post. Do not hold it against me. I know a lot about the players at Duke. I keep up with our recruits in high school, and when they arrive on campus, I already know quite a bit about the players. Now, I know a lot about them, but I do not know them personally. If I was out in Durham, and saw a Duke player, they would not have a clue who I am. I am afraid that many “Christians” claim to know a lot about God, but do not know God personally.
You say, how do I know God? In John 14, Philip asked Christ, “Shew us the father, and it sufficeth us.” Jesus answered, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not know me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He is revealed to us, and is there for us. Some of us have been saved for a long time, and I believe God is saying, have I been so long with you, and you still don’t even know me.
John 17:3, Jesus says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Do you really know God?
Did you know that God desires to make your life His dwelling place?
I believe I have failed as a youth pastor if I do not teach you the importance of a personal daily walk with God.
- You experience the power of Christ- Philippians 3:10 says, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.” The word, “power” comes from Greek word, dunamis. It is an intrinsic power or inherent ability. It is the strongest power possible in the entire world. Do you remember the story of the 3 Hebrew children thrown into the prison. They had boldness and confidence that was in a much higher power. They refused and the Lord delivered them. Daniel 11:32 says, “The people that know their God shall be strong.” Maybe the reason you are not strong is you really do not know God. If you know God the way Paul desired to know God, you will experience the power of Christ. “Trusting Him is not the secret to knowing Him, but knowing Him is the secret to trusting Him.”
- You will experience God’s presence- V. 10. Philippians 3:10: the fellowship of His sufferings. “We love God because He first loved us.” Before you ever thought about God, He thought about you. You did not get up one day, and say, I am going to be friends with God. He came to you, and made a way through Jesus Christ that you can now enter into a relationship with Him and experience His presence. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.” Through the priesthood of the believer, we can have access to the God of Heaven anytime that we need Him. The power mentioned in verse 10 is a good exciting thing, but the suffering is not as exciting. When you sign up for knowing God, expect to suffer more than ever before. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to you in your pleasure, but shouts to you in your pain!”
- You will experience God’s passions. The word, “conformable” means to make of like form with another person. Paul’s desire was that his heart and God’s heart would be knit together. If you begin to gain your desire to know God and make this your life ambition and goal, you will become more and more like Him. As you become like Him, your passion will be His passion. His passion was people. Knowing God changes your priorities and desires to His priorities and His desires!