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that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:10-11, NASB
What do you want out of life? We should all be asking this question. Sometimes we get so busy with living - work, family, activities - that we lose sight of what we really want to accomplish in life. If we lose our focus, we will lose our direction and miss the mark.
The goal of Bible study, prayer, going to church, etc., is not to improve our life. Christianity is not a social club. Christianity is not a self-improvement program. The goal is that we might know Jesus. If our goal is to improve our lifestyles, even if we achieve it, we will be missed the most important thing. Life improvement is usually a by-product of a life lived for God, but it is not meant to be an end goal.
Paul had discovered the central purpose of life. His overwelling desire to know God in every aspect he could included the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. We tend to focus on the comforts and the benefits, but Paul was willing to invest everything of this life in knowing Jesus and entering into abundant eternal life. He looked beyond what he saw and what happened to him in the present to see what was coming in the future.
We were created to know and worship God and to uniquely express something of Him in this world. All that we are and do is to be focused on this primary goal. Nothing in this life is certain. Everything, except our relationship with Jesus, can be stripped away. As a man in a refugee camp said, “I never knew Jesus was all I needed until Jesus was all I had.”
Part of our problem is that we have fallen into the error of dividing life into spiritual and physical activities. Compartmentalizing, as they say today. Often we consider things like going to church, Bible study, praying, etc. as spiritual activities, while things like family, work, and entertainment are physical activities with little or no relation to our spiritual life.
We are a unit. We are a spirit living in a physical body interacting with a material world. Everything we are and do is spiritual - for better or worse. For example, treating our spouse well or poorly is an activity that flows from our spirit and will have both physical and spiritual consequences. We must come to understand that all of our life - no matter how mundane - comes out of our spirit and has spiritual consequences and applications. Jesus must be the center from which all else flows.
We need to study the Bible to learn Who the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are, not just search for life principles. We need to worship to glorify Jesus, not because it makes us feel good. We need to listen in prayer, not only talk. Our heart’s desire must be to know Jesus and know Him better every day.
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