I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,Philippians 3:10 (NRSV)
There is a huge difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone. I know about lots of people that I have never met and have zero relationship with. To know someone, however, is a level of relationship much deeper than knowing facts and figures about them.
The Apostle Paul says he wants to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. The first part of the sentence we are fine and dandy with. But the second…I want to share his sufferings by becoming like him in his death…now that creates a pause.
Wait a second. Share his sufferings? Granted, I want to share in his upside of joy, peace and eternal life but isn’t there another way to get it aside from denial and cross bearing? In a word…no.
While our path may not look exactly like Jesus’ life, death and resurrection it will take on a similar trajectory if we go beyond simply knowing about him to truly knowing him. The movement of discipleship is always downward first. Down into a life of study, prayer, serving, worship, stewarding, and other spiritual disciplines is the basis of following Jesus. Moving down sacrificially begins the move to the upward trajectory of peace, joy, and all the promised fruit we long to experience.
You want to know why Lent is a transformational time for those who participate? It patterns itself after the downward move to follow Jesus in acts of denial and cross bearing.
These are the long days of Lent. Long gone is the excitement around the new practices or the fasts we took up. We still have almost three weeks before Easter arrives so there is even a long road ahead of us. I dare to say that these are the days where change really happens. What do we do when the excitement is gone and no one is watching closely anymore and maybe doesn’t even care? Will we stay true down in the long moments trusting that God is doing something?
The Apostle Paul shares that this is way to knowing Jesus.