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 for my Lord.Paul is urging us to think as he, considering all the advantages we seemly have in life are really nothing in comparison to knowing Christ. If you look back to verses 5 & 6 you see him list his credentials. The advantages, not material possessions, he had in life. I think about mine. Those things I carry in my back pocket: I am a US citizen; I had a Christian upbringing; I have a college degree; I am married; I am a mother...but these merely reflect my status. They aren't who I am. They are not my position in life. And further more, Paul calls them nothing, worthless. They alone leave me in the red. Christ is the only thing worth anything. Only Christ can move me to the green.
Twice Paul says, he wants to know Christ (vv. 8 & 10). The greek word is ginosko. It means experiential knowledge, to get knowledge of feel, to understand or perceive, and interestingly, it is an expression used to refer to sex (an intimate knowing).
I am reminded of Randy Alcorn's insight shared in Heaven. What if marriage as we know it is an illustration of our marriage to Christ in heaven. What if sex, getting lost in each other physically, emotionally and mentally, is a glimpse of the thrill and exhilaration we'll feel when we are walking and talking with our Maker, Jesus? It seems to me this may be the knowing that Paul is talking about. Really knowing Christ because you've experienced Him in your life.
In verse 9, Paul states he wants "to be found in Him." Again another reference to abiding in Christ as I shared my thoughts last week.
In verse 10, Paul repeats his desire and longing to know Christ and adds to his list:
- Power of His resurrection; Interestingly, I found the the word power is where the word dynamite comes from. Paul wants to experience the dynamite power God used to raise Christ from the dead.
- Share in His sufferings - The word share (NIV says fellowship) is koinonia meaning intimate fellowship is sometimes used to refer to sex. When Christ hurts, do I? Do I cringe at injustice, aching hearts, orphaned children, widowed women?
Paul had an intense desire to be one with Christ. Is my life really marked by that? Honestly, it's not. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness," (Matthew 5:6.) Is my soul's longing desire Jesus (Psalm 42:1-2)? Do I know Christ more than I know the engineer?
I have found that knowing more in my head about Jesus has revealed to me much of who Christ is.
We will be like Him because we'll see Him as He is. 1John 3:2When we meet Jesus face to face, we'll be like Him because we'll see Him. Why can't this process begin now? Indeed this is the process of sanctification...being made holy. The more we know about Him, the better we understand Him (although we can never fully grasp God) the more we can be transformed into His likeness. This is a process that begins now and will be completed at perfection.
I am a list maker. My iCal is loaded with tasks and agendas. I feel I have gained worth if in my day I have mentally checked off the to do list. This in sense, puts me in the green. Now I see that the only way to be in the green is to experience Christ.