by Angie Lombardo
Did any of you make any New Year’s resolutions on January 1?
Someone joked: My New Year’s resolution:
1) Get my finances in order
2) Get finances
Another person commented: I always have no trouble keeping my New Year’s resolutions. This year I am totally resolved to eat more chocolate than last year.
Paul didn’t have a New Year’s resolution. Rather he had a determined resolve. He wrote in Philippians 3:10a “. . . that I may know Him . . .” What Paul was getting at was his desire to know God personally and intimately. That was his goal.
Think of your family. You know your mother and father. If you have siblings, you know them, too. But do you know your mom the way your dad knows her? They likely have an intimate relationship one with the other. But ask a married couple, married five years, if they really know one another and they probably will say yes, of course they do. But ask them that question 50 years later, and they will attest to the fact that they now know each other much more than before. Their love for one another has grown exponentially.
One day The Husband and I were deep in conversation. (“The Husband” is of the many names I call him—all good I might add.) I started to ask him a question, but he interrupted me and answered my unspoken question correctly. He knows me very well. Too well, I think! Regardless, one cannot truly know another person deeply until there is mutual full disclosure.
What thrills me is that the reality that God who is infinitely higher than sinful human beings, allows Himself to be known. How does He do that? He reveals Himself through His Holy Word. By His Word, God is personally speaking to you, to me. Just as Paul wanted to know God more, the unfathomable mystery is we are first known by God because of His grace. God took the initiative to permit me to know Him and because He knows me first, His grace is revealed.
It’s like a child playing hide and seek with her mother. The mother hides as the child counts down from fifty—three, two, one, here I come, ready or not. The child looks and looks unsuccessfully until the mother purposely sticks her toe out from behind the curtain. I found you, the child squeals. But the mother knows better. She let herself be found.
What a gracious God we have. And as Paul contemplates what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for him, he can hardly contain himself! Paul longs to really know Christ! He did not say he wants to know more about Him (although that leads one to come to know Him more). He wants to know Him and have a deeper, more intimate experience of Him. And God allows Himself to be known.
It is my prayer that in this New Year, our resolve is to know Christ better and better. To really know Him as Paul states in Philippians 3:8, “Yet indeed I also count all things as loss for the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus . . .” It is far more than intellectual knowledge of the facts about Him. It’s a lifelong process of sanctification. In other words, the desired end is to know Him experientially by personal involvement thereby having a deeper and deeper knowledge of and experience with Jesus.
Then when disappointment, heartaches and pain come—all of these earthly things don’t matter so much because I can say with Paul “I count all things as loss . . .”
As J. I. Packer writes in his incomparable book, Knowing God, p. 23, “. . . when a man knows God, losses and ‘crosses’ cease to matter to him; what he has gained simply banishes these things from his mind.”
God give us the grace to echo Paul’s fervent desire, “. . . that I may know Him . . .”