“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
There are four things that Paul desires in this passage that I find extremely challenging:
To know Christ
To know the power of the resurrection
To know the fellowship of sharing in his suffering
To become like him
I am struck that none of these things can be known simply by cognitive assent. To truly know these things one must know them by way of experience. Fellowship is not known apart from fellowship. The power of the resurrection is not known by studying books. Even more so, Christ is not known with out experiencing him in relationship with him.
I wonder how many of our churches are filled with people who are simply nodding their heads to what’s being sung or said without experiencing the truth of what is being said? I wonder how many people are vicariously living the faith through others who are really living their faith?
I wonder how often I sacrifice knowledge about Jesus for knowing Jesus?
I really do desire to have the single minded focus of Paul to know Christ. I don’t want to settle for knowing a lot of about him. I want to know him! I want to see the power of the resurrection. Now,I’ll be honest, the fellowship of sharing in his suffering is not something I readily am asking for. But, if it is the process God ordains that I might become like Jesus, then bring it on! To live larger than life so that death cannot contain or extinguish life, yes, I will take some of that.