Chapter 4 (Part 3)
"Perceiving, recognizing, and understanding the wonders of His person"
Now look at our three words again: "That I may progressively perceive, recognize, and understand." God desires us to not just perceive and recognize the wonders of His person, but to understand.
Do you know what understanding is? You know those fragments of knowledge we were talking about? It is the ability to pull those fragments of information and knowledge we learn about Christ Jesus our Lord together, and as we look at them, begin to comprehend them with some accuracy. Begin to accurately see who our God is.
These little fragments of knowledge are of critical importance because we live a life inundated by what we don't know. How often we say, "I have no idea . . . " And the only thing that will ever get us through the list of "I have no idea" is that which we do know.
II Timothy 1:12 is so dear to me. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed . . .
This truth is so foundational--so important for us to understand. This truth will get us through the toughest of times.
There is nothing we can't face when we know the One in whom we believe. Because let me tell you something, there will always be a whole lot of things we don't know, a whole lot of things we don't understand. His ways are higher than our ways. But we can know Him. We can know who He is when we don't have a clue what He's doing.
Paul was really suffering when he wrote II Timothy 1:12 --My paraphrase . . . knowing what he suffered . . . would be something like this: I may not completely comprehend everything I'm going through, but this is why I'm not ashamed. I know Him. I know Him. That's why I wouldn't dare turn back at this point, because I know whom I've believed and I'm persuaded that He is able to guard, to keep that which I've entrusted unto Him against that day.
Here's the picture I want you to see. The word "guard" (in some versions it is "keep") tells you why you can release your concerns to Him . . . why you can get settled on making your life's purpose knowing Him and why you can give everything else to Him.
This word in the Greek language is "phylasso" and it is the word from which the Greek word phylactarian is taken, which is the word--stay with me here--phylactery. A phylactery is a little box an Orthodox Jew puts on his head. It has some leather straps to hold the leather box on his forehead and in the box are some little tiny papers with the Law written on them. It is their way of fulfilling God's command in Deuteronomy 6 when He told them to write the Law on their doorposts, write it on the frames of their houses, and even put it on their forehead. God's point was to have it all around them, but they took this very literally.
And so there are pieces, statements of God's Word, in that little box, and it is on their head. Do not forget that Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee. He was a Rabbi. He was a true teacher.
When he uses that terminology, here is what he means, "All I have to know is whom I believe in. I gotta know Christ, and everything else I can commit to His care, because my concerns are strapped to His head."
He is talking Rabbi talk here. He is saying, "My concerns are strapped on His head." That's why you can relieve them to Him. Because they're on His head. God is not going to forget your concerns. God knows what worries you. God knows what scares you nearly to death. God knows what's on your mind . . . let it be on His.
Must it be on both of yours? He is wearing it right at the front of His forehead. Paul said, "My concerns are written on pieces of paper, and they are bound to the head of my Savior. He will never forget, therefore I can release and trust because I know the One I believe in."
As I bring this to an end, I want to pray for you. I want to pray that God will take the truth of what you have just read and help you apply it to your life. And one way to do that is to write your concerns on pieces of paper. Put them out before Him. Maybe find a little box that you can put them in and picture when you place those before Him that they are going on a box strapped to His forehead.
Father God, I pray that You have sown an abiding Word in us. I pray we will know we have purpose on this planet, and that no matter what the situation may be, it will present an opportunity that we may know Christ and the power of His resurrection. You know our concerns; You know our needs. Keep them on your forehead that we might release them from ours. That we might be anxious for nothing, and instead choose joy. You are it. And I give You praise. Seal the work that You've done through this booklet, in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.