Chapter 3 (Part 1) "That I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him . . . "
Now how does this all go together? Read again Philippians 3:10.
My determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become . . . .
"Progressively" is the next word I want you to think about, because here's what happens. After we come to faith in Christ, we begin to move along in our spiritual walk, but at a certain point we just get to a place where our faith becomes business as usual. It's enjoyable, it's fulfilling to us in many ways. But our knowledge of Him is about the same as it was a year ago. And about the same as five years ago.
We end up at that place where we couldn't really tell you the last time God just shook us up with a fresh knowledge of who He is according to His Word. In fact, we get into the trap where we just read the same things over and over so that we can reconfirm what we already believe. We march ourselves to a Christian bookstore, and we pass by everything that's not familiar to get to what is familiar. And so we just keep reaffirming the same old thing over and over again.
But what we need to do is let Him shake us up a little bit. We need to pray, "Lord, tell me something new about You." We need to progressively grow in our knowledge of Him. We need to be women and men who know our God progressively and more intimately.
So why don't we? Here is what I think hangs us up. We don't believe it's worth it. After all, why would we put all our life's energy and purpose into knowing one person? When it all comes down, isn't that really it? We think, "I'm going to be there for eternity, so can't we do that then? I have a lot to do here. Why in the world would I want to spend my life getting to know Him better?"
Let me tell you why. Because of the wonders of His person. Oh, please don't check out on me here. Giving your life to knowing Christ more intimately is worth it because of the wonders of His person. Sadly, we don't believe this because we have compared and measured Christ according to a human standard.
How does that play out? Let me tell you. We meet someone really, really interesting and decide we want to get to know them. So after a few lunches and some time together we feel like we know them! We think, "I'm so relieved I don't have to go out with them for lunch for six months . . . I already know them!" Amen?
And we think God's like that.
Now, what we have to understand is God has built into us a desire for intimacy. The deep desire of the heart and soul for relationship. It's that yearning I have seen fulfilled in my daughters. It is the sweetest thing to watch.
My youngest one is head over heels in love with a young man who is six-and-a-half feet tall. And I have watched them--they cannot get enough of looking at each other. One night we were going out to dinner and I literally had to get between them and say, "Hello? Do you remember me? My name is Mother. I birthed you in pain and travail! And I have a simple question for you--are you going with us to eat, or not?"
They are so cute!
I've asked her over and over again. "Tell me something new you're learning about him." See, they're in that stage where they want to have a date until midnight and then they want to talk on the phone until three in the morning. Why? Because they just can't get enough of each other! They are filling that God-given desire for intimacy!
I have watched that young love, a pure love, and I am so thrilled for them. At that age, I never knew pure love. I can tell you, I never remember being pure in my whole life. And you will know what I'm talking about if you were the victim of childhood abuse. I just never knew the word "pure"--no way. I didn't know what the word "virgin" meant. I didn't know anything of that. But I have watched this pure love between my daughter and her fiance' and it is the sweetest thing.
That desire for intimacy is a lifelong desire. And that desire was put in us by God. That desire is what some of you need to know. In this life we get just a taste of intimacy and we want it so badly, but ultimately we can't keep it.
Beloved, our desire for intimacy is fulfilled in Him! It is fulfilled in Him! He is the romance you can't get enough of. He is the constant mystery. We have been confused by measuring Him with a standard of humanity. We think He's like everybody else and we're going to just settle in to a nice comfortable relationship with Him.
Perhaps you feel you have settled into a relationship with the God of all creation. I have to tell you, we don't settle into this one when we understand that the wonders of His person are incalculable, impossible to fulfill.
We can never get enough. This is no man. He is no regular person.