Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 4:10-5:31 / Philippians 3:1-4:1 / Psalm 116:1-11
How many Facebook friends do you have? Some have hundreds while others have thousands. I was looking through my “friend” list and noticed there are a few who I do not know very well. They are listed as a friend because they are a “friend of a friend”. My knowledge of them is limited whereas there are those on Facebook who I know very well = personally.
We may be friends with many people but there are only a select few that we know on a personal and intimate level. We know their likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, hopes/fears and their good and bad. Those relationships are developed over time and built on a strong foundation of vulnerability, transparency, love and trust.
The Apostle Paul had a great passion and desire to know Christ on a personal, interactive and intimate level. Paul said, “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.” (Philippians 3:10) Paul wanted more than a religious experience, he wanted a personal relationship with Christ.
Some may think that Paul’s desire to “know” Christ and His resurrection power is an extreme position of spiritual passion but in reality this is to be part of every Christian’s life. Our desire and pursuit is to daily walk with Christ, learn from Him and grow in Him. We cannot exist without experiencing his grace, presence, glory, blessings and power every day! The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that empowers our lives to newness of life.
Paul also wanted to experience Christ’s sufferings. He knew there was a divine purpose in suffering. Jesus did not use His divine power to escape the sufferings of this world but humbled Himself for a greater purpose. God uses suffering to burn the dross from our lives and purify us. When we go through trials and tests, we can trust in God’s divine care, power and purpose.
Ultimately, Paul knew the significance and need for the cross of Christ in his life.
Jesus bore Paul’s sin on the cross and Paul bore Christ’s cross “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) We are conformed into His image as we learn to die to self and to sin.
Paul’s passion needs to be our passion. Pursuing a relationship with Christ on a daily, intimate and personal level will bring us to a place where God can do a good work in us! Our hearts, perspective, attitude and spirits will reflect His glorious presence and power. If we want to really know Christ, maybe we should spend less time on our Facebook and spend more time in His Book…He will certainly become more than a casual Facebook Friend!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!