"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

Translate Hester's Blog

Friday, May 13, 2011

PERSONAL PURSUIT

Philippians 3:8 (NIV) "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."



She was born February 11, 1962 in Kennett, Missouri. Her father's name is Wendell and her mother's is Bernice. She has two older sisters and one younger brother. After graduating from the University of Missouri she was hired in St. Louis as an elementary school music teacher. She taught children with special needs and autism.

She played nights and weekends with various bands. She made advertisement jingles for Toyota and McDonald's. At 24 she headed for LA and did some songwriting for Wynonna Judd and Celine Dion. A few years later she joined Michael Jackson with his "Bad" tour in 1989. Later she traveled with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to Bosnia for a goodwill tour to visit the military troops.

Her list of Grammy Awards and credits is longer than my to-do list. Sounds like I must really know this lady, huh? In fact, we are actually distant cousins. Any guesses as to who she might be?

This famous music sensation I speak of is Sheryl Crow. Do I really know her? No. We aren't even acquaintances. I've never met her and I'm certain she hasn't a clue as to who I am, even though we are related.

Truth is, I found all of these facts about Sheryl on page 92-94 of our 600 page Crow family book of descendants. (Jeffery Scott Crow, Gateway Press 2004)

Similarly, people often boast in their knowledge of God but do not possess a personal relationship with Him. Sharing facts about God or the Bible is not a guarantee that we know Christ. We may have the Book and be able to recite its stories, but this too does not validate a personal relationship with Jesus. Neither does going to church.

Knowledge about God should not puff us up but rather give us the understanding of how to become transformed. The goal for our Christian lives is not information, but rather transformation. The more we know Him the more we become like Him.

The Apostle Paul knew Christ. He did not waver in his life's ambition. Paul's greatest passion is expressed in Philippians 3:7-11. His goal: to know Christ Jesus his Lord. Verses 7-8 "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Paul's example should be our personal pursuit: to know Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul willingly lost all things and considered them rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ. Prior to this in verses 4-6 Paul tells of his glowing resume as a Hebrew of Hebrews from the tribe of Benjamin etc. His point is that he could choose to put confidence in the flesh but he chose to lose those things and count them as rubbish or dung, to be more specific.

In verse 9 he goes on to say, "And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

Knowing Christ meant that Paul could not put confidence in his flesh and all the accomplishments and kudos he achieved or the knowledge he attained through the law. He knew that the righteousness that came through the law was based on performance.

The righteousness Paul desired comes through faith in Christ Jesus. Romans 10:17 teaches that faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. We cannot have faith if we do not know Christ. We cannot know Christ without knowing His Word. In fact, the more we know Him through His Word the stronger our faith will be.

The Greek word for "know" in verse eight is the verb "ginosko" which carries the idea to learn to know, come to know, understand, perceive, feel. This is not just knowledge or information, but rather it communicates a knowledge coming from intimacy. This is how a relationship with Christ is established and experienced; through intimate knowledge of Jesus.

According to Paul, if we want to know Christ we need to count all things as loss compared to the excellency of knowing Him. When we put confidence in the flesh, our desire to know Christ diminishes because we are enthralled by what we do. We are not enthralled with Who we serve.

Just this morning the Lord challenged me with some things I need to lose in my life in order to know Him more. He nudged my heart, Hester, do you really consider ALL things loss in order to know Me more? What about . . . . ? I know what He is referring to. Things of comfort and familiarity. Things that I have held tightly to in the last few years.

Through tears I replied, "Lord I don't want anything to be in the way of knowing you and gaining more of You in my life. Please help me accept Your gentle guidance so I can move forward in faith." These growing pains hurt my heart, but necessary, in order to experience deeper intimacy with Christ. This process of letting go will cause the growth the Lord desires in my life. Surrender will enable me to know Him more.

Jesus doesn't want lip service and a spreadsheet of all the facts we know about Him. He wants us to actually KNOW Him. When our hearts are engaged in our relationship with Him we will desire to go deeper and invest the necessary time to really know Him. Jesus is telling us, "Love me. Talk to me. Commune with me. Take Me with you wherever you go. Have a relationship with me. Don't just know facts about me. Let's do life together."

May your life echo Paul's personal pursuit: to know Christ Jesus your Lord.



Heart Work:
Ask the Lord to reveal how you can deepen your relationship with Him.

Evaluate your life's passion and ambition. Does it look like Paul's?

What needs to change in your life in order for you to know Christ?

Write Philippians 3:8 on an index card today. Memorize and internalize this verse.


Heart Exam:
What earthly things do you put confidence in?

What does knowing Christ mean to you? How does your relationship with Him permeate into your life?

Does your righteousness come by faith or do you secretly store up human accomplishments as a measuring stick of your goodness?


Heart Changing Word:
Hosea 6:3 & 6 (NLT) "Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know Him. I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings."

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV) "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' "

John 14:8-9 " 'Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." '

2 Corinthians 3:4 "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God."

Galatians 2:21 "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing!"

Galatians 3:11 " 'Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." '

Philippians 3:10 "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."



Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.