Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Knowing Christ

Good Shepherd Catacomb of Priscilla Image via Wikimedia Intimacy with Christ is the highest human endeavor.  We have been created to seek fellowship with our creator.  There a longing unquenchable that can only be filled by the Creator Himself.  I have found that intimacy with Christ is the fulfillment of this longing.  There are moments that we forget this and some how become disconnected from Him, but He is gentle and always guides us back into the fold.  Our relationship with God if it is truly to be intimate must come before all other relationships.  It must be ordered first in line.  When we do this then other relationships fall into order (as God would have them). 

Intimacy with Christ has at least four qualities that relate to mindfulness: knowing his voice, knowing the power of His resurrection, walking with Him through the day, and anticipating His return.  When we cultivate these then we will experience the closeness we long for in Christ. 

Knowing His Voice

I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd.
John 10:14-16 (HCSB)

My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish-ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one.
John 10:27-30 (HCSB)

There are perquisites to knowing the voice of the Good Shepherd.  First you have to know the Shepherd.  You have to have received Him as your Lord and Savior.  Nothing short of surrendering you life will do.  You are entrusting your life to His guidance and protection (Shepherdship).  Next you have to be listening.  Sound obvious right, but not so easy as it it obvious.  We have so much noise around us and worldly trinkets to distract us that we do not pay attention nor do we listen.  Finally we have to be obedient and follow Him.  Being out of earshot is no excuse for not listening.  Being near the Lord by obedience allows us to be within earshot of his voice.  

Knowing the Power of His Resurrection

But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ-the righteousness from God based on faith. [My goal] is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already reached [the goal] or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:7-14 (HCSB)

Coming to the end of the worldly and embracing Christ by faith is to know the power of His resurrection.   We are found in Him.  We achieve higher intimacy with God by dwelling in Jesus Christ.  We have faith in Him. 

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 (HCSB)

The wonderful thing about this faith it is a gift and can be requested. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

Then Jesus said to him, "'If You can?' Everything is possible to the one who believes." Immediately the father of the boy cried out, "I do believe! Help my unbelief."
Mark 9:23-24 (HCSB)

A word of warning though only ask God to strengthen your faith if you are sincere about seeing it through.  Faith is not strengthened without trials (no pain no gain). 

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 (HCSB)

I will consider the topics of walking with Jesus through the world and anticipating His return in my next post.  I hope that God will expand your knowledge of Him so that you will move from knowing about Him to knowing Him!

God Bless you!