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)
These are powerful words from Paul! He was sold out to Jesus. He didn’t care what it cost him 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 relationship with Christ gave 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 our hesitancy 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 either 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 He continually surrendered. He knew who He was in Christ. He knew that the cost of His surrender only had value spiritually.
There is a great danger in humanly counting the cost of surrender to Christ. Analyzing too much about what is personally required of you can cause you to retreat from surrendering to Him. If you believe that your surrender means you must meet all His requirements to win His acceptance and love, then you will hesitate to allow Him to work in your life. It is not your place to win God’s love. You can never win it. Christ has won God’s love for you. But when you believe who you are in Christ, you “know” your position. You know in whatever God calls you to do that the outcome is not your responsibility. You know His will and that He does abundantly more than you can imagine through His power at work in you (Ephesians 3:20).
Faith without works has no life (James 2:20). Without surrender, the assurance of who you are in Christ is lost. With surrender, you receive a greater spiritual understanding of your calling and power in Christ. Biblical paradoxes are realized. In serving Jesus, you exercise His power. In your human weakness, you receive His spiritual strength. In dying to self, you are raised in His authority. Paul experienced these in his life. They are also what we experience when we know who we are in Christ and are surrendered to Him.
God doesn’t want you burned out from trying to meet requirements. When you surrender to His power, you realize how He met them for you. 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.
You have been crucified with Christ. You live your life by the faith of the Son of God who gave His life for you (Galatians 2:20). There is no greater reward than “knowing” who you are in Christ. There is no greater experience on this earth than living the measure of faith He has given you.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher