Monthly Archives: April 2011

AT A LOSS FOR WORDS

I haven’t written much lately. But I’ve been thinking a lot. And praying. And wondering.
At the beginning of my present study, my intention was to examine the Apostle Paul’s statement to the Church at Philippi. He spoke of his many accomplishments (about any one of which any of us could be justly boastful) and then said they were nothing. They were as “dung” (manure) when compared with the most important pursuit, namely:
             “That I may know Him (Christ), and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering.” (Philippians 3:10.)

That seemed to me to capsulize all the things about which we are thinking in this season.

As I considered the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord, Son of God, to be very candid with you, I found myself at a loss for words. I felt that I was in the presence of a love I cannot comprehend and can certainly never deserve. And a power which I desire but can never understand. I found myself fumbling and mumbling in an attempt to say what I feel. I, who have spent a lifetime trying to be thoughtful and honest, and trying to be a “wordsmith” of sorts, found myself completely speechless. Nothing I could think or write or say came even close to expressing the beauty and wonder, the majesty and mystery of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the dear Lord Christ.

I really do believe in the facts about Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection as reported in the Gospel accounts. But I’m at a total loss trying to say what I think and feel. It seems to me sometimes that the only appropriate response to such wonder is reverent silence. Awed devotion. And that is where I am at the moment.

“Be still and know that I am God,” was the comment Psalmist made when he simply had no words adequate for the occasion (Psa. 46:10). Just hush. Listen. Be grateful. Worship.

Poets have a way of saying what we feel and think which prose can not express.

For example, I recalled these lines:

“O, for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise!”
For the record, my intention from here till the end of my journey is to try to understand what Paul wrote. I’d really like to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.

I hope you do, too.

God’s son and servant, Your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey

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Knowing Christ: How Do I Do That?

“. . . That I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection. . .”

In my attempt to understand what Paul meant when he said he wanted to “know” Christ, here are some assumptions which I recognize and openly acknowledge:  First, I believe Christ wishes to be known and makes that possible.  Second, in order to “know” him, faith is an absolute essential.  In order to know anyone or anything, it seems that you have to accept their existence.

Third, it seems reasonable to assume that in order to “know” anyone you must desire to do that. If you don’t, you won’t.  You can’t.  And fourth, knowing any subject means you must devote time to the project. As he examined his own priorities, Paul put “knowing Christ” as his top priority. Included in that was reference to the crucifixion and resurrection.

I’m not doing a “background check” on Christ, but I’ve really focused my attention on that subject.

My considering this question for quite some time now has led me to ask myself several questions.  Asking questions has long been considered a valid way to teach and learn.  Almost as old as time, hasn’t that been called “The Socratic Method?”  I’ve been asking myself questions, honestly seeking answers, and now sharing my questions with you.  I hope you’ll print them out and share your own thoughts in answer to the questions. Perhaps you’ll also raise some of your own.

If I really want to know someone at the deepest levels, here are some things I’d like to know:

What is this person really like?  How does he treat people who cannot possibly benefit him?  How does he treat ladies?  Children? The poor? The weak?  The ignorant?  What has he accomplished?  What has he said?  What do his words mean?  What has he done?  What are the results or importance of those acts?

What does he gain from his relationship with others?

How does he react under pressure?  Who are his close friends?  How has he influenced them?  What have they done?  What has been their impact upon society?

This has become a very important task for me.  I have decided Paul is right on the mark.  In considering the person and work of Christ, His suffering, death and resurrection and trying to fathom the meaning and importance of those, Paul has upon issues each of us would be wise to consider.

One other thing I have a bit of difficulty verbalizing is the fact that my choosing to focus or concentrate on knowing Christ excludes other pursuits.  We’ll need to think about that a bit.

Paul also said: This one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind and pressing toward those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus My Lord…” If you really want to know Christ intimately, that will mean you have to choose Him above all others. He has no intention of being a co-Monarch

“. . . That I may know Him, the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering. . . ”

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey

How may I Know Christ?

“. . . That I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection. . . ” Philippians 3:10  

In order to know anyone, or anything, you have to spend time on that subject.  Common sense tells you this. In this case, I believe “knowing Christ” involves a lifetime.  For quite some time now (and perhaps for the rest of my time here), I’ve been thinking about what Paul wrote to his friends at Philippi. He expresses both a desire and a determination.  Here, and elsewhere, Paul says the driving ambition, the main priority, the burning passion of his life is to “know Christ.”

Here’s one thought which occurred to me while I’ve been thinking about that: You have to decide to pursue that idea.  You don’t simply “desire” that knowledge.  You go after it with all your heart.  Paul said:  “I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  To be as clear and brief as I know how to be, knowing Christ (or anyone or anything else) you make a conscious decision to do that.  This involves your choice.  Not simply your emotions, or your intellect, but your will.  Your entire self.  You have to make some choices.  You have to decide what you want. What you really desire.

That decision means you eliminate a lot of other pursuits.  Of necessity.  You simply cannot travel in every direction simultaneously.  You can’t “specialize” in everything.

We aren’t here talking about accumulating of a lot of facts and information about a lot of subjects.  I know a lot of stuff ABOUT a lot of people.   I only know very few people well.  Even fewer intimately.  The ones I know best are the ones I love most, and the ones with whom I spend the most time.  They’re the ones about whom I care most deeply. I also am fortunate to believe they care the most about me.

Perhaps those are the reasons I know them best.

Clearly, I have not exhausted the subject of knowing Christ.  Nor will I, nor anyone else, ever do that.  However, in this season, like so many people around the world, I’m drawn again to consider the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of the Lord Christ.  And I dwell on the unthinkable idea of Deicide, the ultimate, arrogant, ignorant defiance and rejection by mankind of God’s love.  The extent to which God goes to show how much he loves. And then the Resurrection, which shows the incredible power of that love!

Words simply fail.

But Paul comes as close as anyone can to expressing the right response to those actions.  It should create in me an unquenchable thirst to know more.

I breathe those words.  Quietly.  Reverently. What a lofty aspiration!  What a worthy goal!  How better could I invest my life?  Of all the things the great theologian/evangelist ever accomplished, his focus remained on (1.) Knowing Christ, (2.) The power of His resurrection and (3.) The “fellowship of his suffering” (the crucifixion.). I suspect we could do nothing more important with our time than to share his pursuit of these three great ideas.

“That I may know Christ, and the power of His resurrection. . . “

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey