Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 3:7–8a, 10–12, 13b–14 (NIV)
This is a powerful statement from Paul! He longed to be sold out to Jesus. He didn’t care what that sacrifice cost because His Savior had paid the greatest price. Paul knew that he was joined to Christ and one with Him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). He never forgot that his faith was to “know’ Christ and the power of His resurrection—that in becoming like Christ in His death, he would experience Christ in His resurrection (Romans 6:4-5).
To “know” Christ is to be one with Him, and that deep intimate relationship with Him releases His supernatural power in us and into the lives of those with whom we have contact. Paul knew who He was in Christ, and He experienced the power his cherished relationship with Christ promised Him.
To “know” Him also means we experience His suffering. This is the suffering we experience in this world because of our faith in Christ. We could never experience the depth of His suffering on the cross. We could never attain that.
We begin our Christian lives filled with love for our Savior. Our hearts initially burn with joyful wonder at the magnitude of what God has given us only to find along the way that the inability to surrender control to God chokes out His Spirit. Pride exists without our surrender. We are called to have a servant’s heart. We have no need to exalt or degrade ourselves. True humility never promotes self. Neither does it degrade self. True humility only glorifies the Lord.
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (John 4:6). True humility releases spiritual power in a believer’s life that has been yielded to the Holy Spirit. Paul lived this humility because experiencing surrender, He knew who He was in Christ. He knew that the cost of living His surrender only had value spiritually.
There is a great danger in humanly counting the cost of commitment. Analyzing too much about what you believe is personally required can cause you to retreat from the depth of surrender and keep you from renewing your mind in Christ (Romans 12:2). If you feel you have to win God’s love and meet His requirements, you will retreat. You can never win God’s love. Christ has won His love for you. But when you believe who you are in Christ, you “know” the outcome of your surrender is not your responsibility. His guidance and power are yours in the Holy Spirit.
With too little commitment, the assurance of who you are in Christ will take a hit. However, when the price of commitment is spiritually counted and the cost is humble surrender to Jesus, biblical paradoxes take on new spiritual depth. Servitude means greatness. Weakness means strength. To live is to die, and to die is to live. Paul experienced these in his life. They are also what we experience when we are surrendered to Christ.
God doesn’t want you burned out from trying to meet requirements. He wishes you fresh, alive, and able to release the power He has given you. “Know” who you are in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-15). Be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:23). Put on the new nature that Christ has purchased for you—His righteousness (Ephesians 4:24). You will experience the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit and inspire others to receive.
There is no greater passion than “knowing” who you are in Christ. There is no greater experience than following Him and exercising the measure faith He has given you. And there is no greater reward than the fullness of God in your life.
© 2021 Lynn Lacher