Philippians 3:9 – 11 “. . . 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. 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, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Paul had spent years under the weight of legalistic, self-righteous bondage. He had met all of the requirements, lived up to all standards of moral, holy living. But it was a heavy load to carry around! When Paul experienced the salvation that comes only through a relationship with Jesus Christ, all of the weight dropped, the chains were loosed, and he was set free! His righteousness, or right standing with God, was no longer dependent on his actions. It was dependent on his relationship with Christ!
Paul said, “I want to know Christ.” He wanted to know everything about his Savior, so that he could become like his Savior. Just as a child studies the parent, often becoming a replica of that parent, Paul wanted to study and imitate Christ. He wanted to know and experience his power, his suffering, and yes, he even wanted to know what Christ went through in death. For it is only through death that one can experience resurrection!
Can I say that? I can, and I can’t. Of course I want to know Christ! I want to study Him. I want to experience his power. But His sufferings? His death? Hmmmmmm . . . I would be speaking a falsehood if I said I wanted to suffer. I’ve had my fair share of suffering, and it is not fun. Still, I must admit that I know Christ better because of the difficult things I have experienced. So perhaps in His great mercy, He allowed me to go through the suffering, because He knew I wanted to experience His power.
Now, after having been through the fire, I do feel like I have experienced a resurrection of sorts. I know Him better than I ever have. I know His power, and His goodness, and His love, and His grace and His mercy. Perhaps, because of the suffering, I know Him in a way that I would not, had I not suffered. And so, in that way, I am glad for the suffering. I do want to know Him more and more and more.
Dear Father, I want to know Christ, whatever it takes.