Everything else is insignificant to knowing Jesus Christ as Lord!
It’s hard to choose good friends who will help us on our journey to grow in Christ. It is fairly easy to rub shoulders with people who tell you what you want to hear, massaging your mind with flowery compliments for the purpose to get what they want from you. Yes, my friends, as in Paul’s day, I’m afraid it is still dog-eat-dog world in and out of the church, those who say they believe in Christ but do not live like Christ is in them. Sometimes, it could be me or you.
Discernment, asking God for wisdom in choosing friends that will add to, not take away from our growth, is the key to healthy spiritual living that leads to greater joy and peace in Christ who lives in us who truly believe and follow Him.
In any group of people, it seems there will always be that “one” who is not in sync with others. Jesus had that “one” in his group. Jesus knew exactly who he was, but he loved and served him anyway. Jesus knew the enemy had taken over the mind of Judas. Paul warns the church often about this same enemy who tries to weave his way into the community of believers. Be aware that the real enemy, the prince of darkness, consistently tries to worm his way into our thoughts so we will think only of ourselves and not what God wants for the good of the Body of Christ. We must not be that “one” or listen to those who would pull us away knowing and following Jesus. Like Jesus, we love and pray for our enemies so they may come to know and listen to Jesus.
Paul is so good to point out the differences between those who know and follow Jesus as Lord and those who do not. Those who do not know Jesus and refuse to grow in His ways are more concerned with rule keeping and traditions (we’ve always done it this way). They are “barking dogs” who are more concerned with how things look to others than actually helping others know and follow Jesus. They are super concerned that people know how good they are when inside they are full of self and want others to please and serve them.
My mentoring elders told me that people who consistently tell you how good they are—probably are not. Watch out for them. Paul is telling the church pretty much the same. Be discerning. Follow Jesus. Ask for wisdom from God and you will get it.
Paul uses his own life to point out a profound truth. Our lives should consistently point people to Jesus, not to us or our pedigrees or degrees. EVERYTHING in this life is worthless—dung as Paul graphically relates—compared to really KNOWING Jesus Christ, not only as Savior but as Lord of our lives.
Then Paul takes followers to a much deeper level. To live is Jesus. Yes. To know Him is pure joy. Yes! To be willing to share in His sufferings. Wait, what? Yes, says Paul, “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.”
To be like Christ, we need to BE LIKE CHRIST with willingness to follow Him wherever He leads us, through good times and challenging times but in His power, for His glory, in His name. Amen. Yes! Imagine if we all tapped into the extreme power that brought Jesus from death to life, running out of that grave! I want to do it, don’t you?
When leaving all behind, and all that remains is Jesus as the first and most important relationship, our ultimate Lord who leads us, as well as believing He is our Savior, then we come closer to really KNOWING Him. Ask for discernment. He will give it.
Philippians 3:1-11, The Message
To Know Him Personally
And that’s about it, friends. Be glad in God!
I don’t mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry—so here goes.
2-6 Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them.
The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.
7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
It is all because of you that I am here loving you, reading your word to know you more, listening to Your Holy Spirit to guide me. All because of you, I am redeemed, saved forever, with life forever with You. I do want to know you more with all the rest that comes with knowing you. Help me to love like you love. Give me discernment on my journey still in this world so my focus is always on you.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, By your Power, Amen. I believe.