In pursuit of Jesus
In Philippians 3:10 the Apostle Paul writes, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death.”
I think that this Scripture sums up the Christian call better than any other.
In a world marked by confusion and division, it is possible for the believer to walk in clarity. Pressing toward the mark is not just for Apostles but for every believer and that mark is Jesus. He is indescribable, his life is matchless, his truth is undeniable, the salvation he offers is priceless, and his love is irresistible!
Isaiah stated that his name shall be called Immanuel or God with us. He is more than a prophet or wise man. He is God come in the flesh to redeem fallen man. His birth was miraculous, his life was sinless, his path is straight, and his light is clear. Jesus spoke with authority and even the demons, the winds and the waves were subject to his word. He came to seek and to save that which was lost and he never wavered from his mission. It was love that sent him and it was love that empowered him: love for the Father, holy and eternal, and love for mankind, fallen and dying, separated by the sin of the created, Jesus came to declare “On earth peace, good will toward men.”
There is no other goal that is worthy of the Christian’s efforts than to gain Christ. Paul put it this way, “I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ.”
Have we done that? Is Jesus our only hope; our only trust; our only salvation? In the marriage vow we ask the bride this question, “Forsaking all others will you cling only unto him?” It is time for the Bride of Christ to answer this call.
In my analysis, there are really only two reasons that Christians do not fulfill this call. The first is sin. I know it is not popular to talk about sin in today’s world, but unless we are willing to face it, we will never confess it and we will never be forgiven it. Sin separates us from God. The essence of sin is the substitution of satisfying self for the original and highest objective in life – seeking God and his righteousness. Sin is not the act of disobedience; sin is the heart of disobedience. When men become “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” they forsake the true purpose of creation – to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus told us that the law says not to commit adultery, but he tells us that to look upon a woman with lust is to have already committed adultery in our hearts. If the believer is not pursuing Christ with all their heart, then it is easy to allow sin to separate us from God.
The second reason we do not fulfill the call to “forsake all others” is really quite simple. We don’t know him. In Matthew 7:22 Jesus said to those who had prophesied, cast out devils, and had done many mighty works in his name, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” The key word in that Scripture is “knew.”
It is not enough to attend church, know about Jesus, or even do works in his name; we must know him. It seems that there will be many who have sat in church and even done great works who failed to fulfill the primary mission of the believer – to know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, and to be made conformable unto his death.
My resolution is simple yet complex. I want to know Jesus. I want to know more of his grace and love. I want to know more of his resurrection power. I want to take part in the fellowship of his suffering and be molded into his image. I want to be buried with him that I might be raised up to walk in newness of life. Let us make Jesus our pursuit in 2013.