How much do you really want to know Jesus? How much we value knowing Him reveals a great deal about our hearts. The Apostle Paul who had all the Jewish credentials: education, a great family pedigree, and his own achievements, said he counted it all as garbage, literally “dung,” in comparison to knowing Him.
Jeremiah 1 & 2
How Much Do You Really Want to Know Jesus?
Several years ago I started listening to a worship song entitled All I Once Held Dear (Knowing Him). You may be familiar with it.
I believe when it comes to worship, it’s not about the style of music, but about the words. It’s the words that we are offering up to God in our worship. It’s the words that really matter.
I was greatly moved by the lyrics which come right out of today’s passage in Philippians.
But as I was singing and worshiping two lines toward the end grabbed my heart with a holy fear. The lines were, “Oh, to know the power of your risen life and to know You in Your sufferings.”
The thought occurred to me that this isn’t generic. I was saying to the Lord, “I want to know You in Your sufferings.” And that would most likely happen through suffering on my part.
We have all suffered in various ways. I have and I’m sure you have, but there was something that gave me pause about singing and saying I wanted to know Christ in that way. I had to ask myself, “How much do I really want to know Him?”
As I went to my Bible to read the entire passage, I thought about the Apostle who had all the Jewish credentials: education, a great family pedigree, and his own achievements, and how he said he counted it all as garbage, literally “dung,” in comparison to knowing Christ (Phil. 3.8). Not just knowing Him in His resurrection power, but in the fellowship of His sufferings.
Verse 10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
I don’t know about you, but I like the part about knowing Him in the “power of His resurrection,” but the “fellowship of His sufferings,” is another thing. But I’ve come to believe we can’t have one without the other.
There will be times when we will suffer simply because we live in a sin-cursed world. There will be times when we will suffer because of the sins of others. And there will be times when we suffer because we are His and His light is in us. And darkness doesn’t like the light.
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn. 3.19-20).
The Christian walk is not without tests and trials, but ultimately God takes care of His own. As the Prophet Jeremiah said:
“‘They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to deliver you’” (Jer. 1.19).
And in the process of that suffering, we come to know Him in increasingly greater ways as we learn to depend on Him and cling to His promises.
Here are the lyrics to the song:
All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this
Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord
Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness
Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die
Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music
Today’s Other Readings:
Jeremiah 1 & 2:
Our All-Knowing, Sovereign God
Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.” He also wrote the book of Lamentations. Its name refers to a funeral dirge. Jeremiah grieved over the judgment of his people and the destruction of the once flourishing and beautiful city of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The destruction was God’s judgment on a people who had repeatedly turned their backs on Him. But before doing so, God through Jeremiah called the people to repentance and warned of the judgment that would come if they did not repent.
19 Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your backslidings will rebuke you.
Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing
That you have forsaken the LORD your God,
And the fear of Me is not in you,”
Says the Lord GOD of hosts.
“Your own wickedness will correct you …” In many ways the consequences of their sin were built in.
God is still warning us about that today. If we ignore the law concerning drinking and driving, we may be arrested or worse. If we don’t choose a marriage partner wisely, we may suffer years of difficulty. If we neglect our health, we may suffer physical consequences.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (Gal. 6.7-9).
He Saved Me
Verse 6, “… I was brought low, and He saved me..”
Often, we have to come to the end of ourselves before we are ready to look to God. When we do, when we admit we can’t handle things on our own, that we are sinners in desperate need of a Savior, and that we can do nothing to save ourselves—and we trust in God as our Savior, He reaches down and saves us!
“For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (Rom. 10.13).
Holding our Plans in an Open Hand
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
God wants us to make plans and to set goals, but we must hold our plans in an open hand, knowing that God in His sovereignty may change our plans. And that needs to be all right with us. James said it this way:
“Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (Jas. 4.15).
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days we’ll talk about what our state of mind has to do with our relationship with God, look at how Paul prayed, and talk about itching ears, false worship, and the queen of heaven.
Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
Getting ready for 2018
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in. As an incentive, I’ll be giving away one daily Bible to someone who signs up between now and October 31st and another one to someone who leaves a comment about why you want to read more of God’s Word in 2018 between now and then.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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