That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11
Paul was so committed to the gospel that he desired to be conformed to the death of Jesus Christ. To be conformed to His death is to live the way our Lord died. Despised, persecuted and crucified in the flesh. Nothing in life can ever cause us to choose comfort over service to the Lord when we seek to know Him in such an intimate way. Do you want to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and have fellowship with His sufferings?
I was recently speaking with a friend who is going through hardship. The suffering is taking an emotional toll on my friend who is in pain emotionally. On the other side however, I am persuaded that the power of His resurrection will follow with the fellowship of His suffering. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him. The challenge we often face is not the suffering, but rather our theology which points us to deliverance (which I believe in with my whole heart) and causes us to pursue the way out, rather than going through like good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Paul instructs Timothy his son in the gospel in 2 Timothy 2:3-4; You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
We live in a culture where the living is easy, when compared to the Christian church in China or Iran. In order to continue in the faith they must endure hardness as good soldiers. In their journey, they have come to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. It is not the lot of every Christian to suffer as martyrs, or even to suffer physical persecution. Jesus says it this way in John 15:18-22; If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
This is what Paul means when he says he wants to know Him. We should live our lives in such a way that the world knows that we are not of the world, because we have been called out of the world by a risen savior. The risk is that the world will hate us and persecute us like they did to Him. Do you want to know Him? Fellowship with Him costs relationships and popularity, if we speak the truth in love. Because darkness cannot comprehend light — the world hates true believers. Dealing with hate is hard when you represent a God of love. We are commanded to love those who hate us, and to pray for those who despitefully use us. What then are we to do when we are under attack? We simply overcome by our faith. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4
To know Him is to have victory over the world. Suffering nor hardship can rob us of the victory if we are born of God and apply our faith. My prayer for you today is like Paul you too will say in your heart “That I may know Him”. True freedom belongs to those who have fellowship with the Lord. Nothing can separate us from His love. The power of God is released in our lives in a way that is commensurate with our commitment to our relationship with Him. This is made manifest by the word spoken by Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23; Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Notice in the text that Jesus says “many” will call Him Lord, and yet He declares to the many "I never knew you.” This highlights the importance of knowing Him. How is it that those who prophesied and cast out demons in the name of the Lord are not known by Him? There was no transparency or intimacy in their relationship. Their ministry was outward and for themselves, but their hearts were far from Him. They were not honest with Him or themselves. Therefore, we must strive to know Him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. May you know Him and be known of Him from this time forth and for evermore.