9 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Isaiah 66:1-24
Philippians 3:5-21
Psalm 74:1-23
Proverbs 24:15-16

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Philippians 3:8 (NLT): “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ”

Reflections from Scripture:

When we read the words of Philippians 3:8, we understand that Paul wanted to know Jesus. Then, when we read a little further, we hear Paul saying again that he wanted to know Jesus.

Philippians 3:10 (NLT): “ I want to know Christ…”

If we were there in the room with Paul as he was dictating his letter to the man writing it (see Romans 16:22), we might have been tempted to ask Paul a few questions.

“Paul, how can you say that you want to know Jesus? You already know Him! In fact, you have written extensively about Him in your letters. So what do you mean when you say that you want to know Him?”

The answer is found in the language in which Paul originally wrote the letter to the Philippian church.

… and he didn’t write it in English. Someone came to my door a couple years ago and invited me to their church. Out of curiosity, I checked out their church’s website and saw that they claimed that God’s Word was preserved in their particular English translation of the Bible. They claimed that any translation other than their old English translation was corrupt. That is bizarre given that not a single one of the Old Testament or New Testament writers ever spoke English or even heard of it. English as we know it wouldn’t even come into existence for another 1,400 or more years.

Paul’s letters were not written in English. Instead, they were written in Koine Greek, the language of commerce in the first century. It was the universal language that allowed Rome to bring all of its conquered countries under one umbrella. (On a side note, this is one of the reasons God sent Jesus to earth when He did. Under the Roman rule and with the universal language of Greek, the Gospel was able to spread like wildfire.)

So, let’s get back to our original point. Paul wrote in Koine Greek, so we need to look at the Greek word that he used to understand what he meant.

When Paul said he wanted to “know” Jesus, he used the Greek word “ginosko.” That word doesn’t simply mean gaining some knowledge. Paul didn’t desire to merely know more facts about Jesus.

Instead, the Greek word “ginosko” speaks of experiential knowledge. When I went out on my first date with Kim, I wasn’t content to know facts about her. I wanted to really know her. I wanted to spend time with her, listen to her, get to know her heart. That’s “ginosko.”

So, when Paul said that he wanted to know Jesus, he was not saying that he wanted to know more facts about Jesus. Instead, he was saying that he wanted to know Jesus on an experiential level, one that would satisfy the longing of his heart. It was like Paul was a kid peering into a candy store wanting to “experience” all of the goodies inside.

Far too many Christians are satisfied with knowing things about Jesus. They know facts about Him. But they don’t really know Him. And, therefore, they don’t have the overwhelming desire to experience Him on a deeper level like the Apostle Paul did.

Why not ask the Holy Spirit to grow your passion for knowing and enjoying Jesus. Spend time in your Bible, particularly in the first four books of the New Testament, to get to know who Jesus really is. You may even want to consider purchasing “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby to help you on your journey of enjoying Jesus.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to know and enjoy You more. There is so much more to this Christian life than I am experiencing, and I want more. So as I do my part, please cultivate a passion within me to grow in my knowledge of You that will enable me to enjoy a relationship with the God who made me, died for me, is with me now, and is waiting for me in Heaven. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash