[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognising and understanding [the wonders of His person] more strongly and more clearly. And that I may in that same way come to know the power out-flowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers]: and that I may so share His suffering as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death.
That’s it, everything in one grand statement… This passage, which takes a bit to get your head around, is taken from the Amplified Version of Philippians 3:10.
Charles Swindoll personalises it this way, “I want to know Him. I also want to model the power out-flowing from His resurrection. And I certainly want to be continually transformed into His likeness…which requires accepting my share of suffering.”
This gives us a whole new perspective on life and its difficulties, its crises. All sorts of circumstances arise in the course of a lifetime where we need to be asking the question, “Because I’m a follower of Jesus, how then shall I live?”
Swindoll suggests three reasons or principles to guide us as we seek the answers to that question.
Firstly, God never wastes times of testing. The pain and struggles and confusion connected with our circumstances only seem futile and unfair.
Secondly, God’s Word holds out hope when all seems hopeless. There are many truths and promises in God’s Word awaiting our discovery.
Thirdly, we will face turning points in all aspects of our lives, at home, at work, in our community and in our churches.
All this brings us back to THE TURNING POINT. Do you want to know Him? Do you want to model the power out-flowing from His resurrection? Do you want to be continually transformed into His likeness…which will require your acceptance of your share of suffering?
Listen to the words of a man at a unique turning point in the midst of dire circumstances.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all the waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me forever.
But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord
and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ “
Do Jonah’s words raise your awareness of the work of God in your circumstances?