“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was the greatest of Pharisees and perfect in keeping the Law of Israel and after his dramatic conversion he had preached to the nations and written large portions of scripture – and yet he wanted to KNOW JESUS more than anything else!
He had all the spiritual gifts and yet he knew the MORE EXCELLENT WAY!
1st Corinthians 12-14 “And yet I will show you the most excellent way…..Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails……..Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”
We know that GOD is LOVE and that His love was demonstrated on the CROSS through Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus said that if we had seen/known Jesus then we have seen/known the FATHER! So then our greatest need is to KNOW God by knowing Jesus Christ our Lord!
This is why Paul prayed this great need for us:
Ephesians 1 “17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
Ephesians 3 ” 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
There is nothing more important than intimately knowing Jesus Christ and His great love on the cross!
This is exactly what Mary Magdalene knew! Jesus told Martha that only one thing was important and needed:
Luke 10 ” 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Theology, doctrines, etc are only peripheral issues in the Christian life. The most important thing for a believer is to know Jesus Christ and His love that transforms us. We cannot be transformed by theology, doctrine and rule-keeping but our greatest need is to constantly grow in the grace and love of our Savior Jesus Christ who gave His life on the cross for us! We began on the cross and we must always go back to the cross to be immersed in His never-ending LOVE because “GOD is LOVE”
Jesus tells both the Christian and the unbeliever that this world and its appeals and needs are not the most important thing. The most important thing is to do the will of God – which is to KNOW Him through Jesus Christ!
1 John 2 ” 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
John 17 “3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. “
Jesus Christ is not a doctrine or a set of rules. He is our LIFE itself! He is the LIVING GOD who loves you and knows you before you were even born! This Jesus died for us before the world was formed, so that we could know God and have eternal life.
Luke 10 “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.“
The kingdom of God is all about His king – Jesus Christ – the King of LOVE and GRACE that He displayed so beautifully on the CROSS. The kingdom is all about the KING! His kingdom is not like this present world. Everything in this world – the riches, pleasures, pride, achievements, desires will all fade away but the greatest treasure is Jesus Christ Himself – HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER – there is nothing greater in life than knowing Jesus and Him crucified, knowing Jesus and the power of His LOVE!
Colossians 1 “15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
God created everything through His Son Jesus Christ in whom holds all things and He has reconciled all things through His death on the cross. He is above all things. Only Jesus gives meaning to anything through His great love for us on the cross.
Everything in this world is temporal. Nothing in this world is permanent and it cannot give us everlasting joy. We are thankful for all the earthly blessings but the heavenly blessing is the only thing that remains forever! The only thing that can give us eternal joy and peace that passes all understanding is JESUS Himself.
He was born in this world to die on the cross so that we who believe in Him can be reborn to live forever with Him. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Let us all pray that we may know Jesus and His love above all things!