The Apostle Paul: “I want to know Christ…”


I want to know Christ…

Philippians 3:10a

Surely some will say, this is a watering down of Scripture, not including all Paul says. Yes, good point. But wait. It’s the great Apostle Paul as we would say, great in his following of Christ, saying this. We must begin with the simple desire expressed to know Christ.

A little while back I prayed that I might know Christ. Yes, I’m sure as a believer in Christ, I know him. But sometimes it seems to me that I hardly know him at all.

I think God began to answer that prayer by taking my mind to Jesus’s teachings which point to his examples, and how we’re to live as his followers. To follow means to imitate their way of life, to follow their example. But more closely to imbibe their spirit, something of who they are.

God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us in that way. Like now, when Paul penned this Christ had ascended. But like then we too can share in this same desire and prayer, and begin to receive God’s answer through the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ. And we need to keep coming back to that.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…

Philippians 3:10


to know Christ is to make him known

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…

Philippians 3:10

There has probably been no one who had a greater passion for people coming to Christ than the Apostle Paul. At least he’s the model for that given to us in scripture. But as we can see from the book of Philippians, his passion and indeed his life was Christ.

I wonder if instead of concentrating on bringing people to Christ, if we would just concentrate on Christ himself, than others would receive far more benefit from us. They might actually somehow see Christ at least at work in our lives, and might catch a glimpse of his beauty.

Yes, it’s the gospel which is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, and we dare not minimize that. But in pointing others to Christ, it is not only the message, but the medium. In other words, we need to be something of what we’re trying to share.

I think if we just settled into knowing Christ instead of trying to make him known, then he would much more likely be found by those around us. Not that we shouldn’t be intentional in trying to make him known. But if knowing Christ was our main goal and the natural part of our lives, then others would much more likely be drawn to him by what they see in us.

We may have been rather more or less far removed from this thought. In Christ’s appeal to the church at Laodicea, it is obvious that this congregation certainly was. He speaks some pretty stern words, along with this invitation:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Revelation 3:20

The promise here is one of companionship and intimacy. A huge part of the disciples three years with Jesus was simply being with him. And after Pentecost, Christ by the Spirit is with us forever. But communion as in friendship does not automatically follow from that. Like any other relationship, it needs to be made a priority, and cultivated.

To simply know Christ. What we need, and what others need from us. In and through him.