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“The Secret of Joy” (2 Cor. 8:1-4)

The Core of Normal Christianity (Phil. 3:8-14)

The Core of Normal Christianity (Phil. 3:8-14)

WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Biblical Christianity is not what you do for Jesus but what Jesus does in you. It “is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). The question we should consistently ask ourselves and gently ask one another is not “What are you doing for Christ?” but “What is Christ doing in you?” How is He transforming you from the inside out to look like Him? While that transformation is in progress, there will be great service for Him, but that service is the byproduct not the goal. His interest is in what He can do for you, not what you can do for Him.

For Him to work effectively on you and through you, He must be at the very core of your being. So, the object of the Christian life is not to know more about Jesus, but to know Jesus more – more intimately, more immediately, more lovingly, more deeply. After years of knowing Jesus and seeing Jesus work through him, this was still Paul’s chief conscious goal:

“I consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings … Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8,10,12-14).

Many of us misunderstand the difference between the door to eternal life and eternal life itself. Jesus made it clear that saving faith is the door: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That is the door, but that is not the life. Jesus defined eternal life: “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent – Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). That was His prayer for the twelve, and that is His prayer for us.

WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – Becoming a Christian is not the same as living a Christian life. I praise God that you and I confessed Jesus as Lord and believed that God raised Him from the dead, and we were, thereby, saved (Rom. 10:9). But many have been saved by God’s power but live by their own.

So, how do we live a saved life? We start by changing our goals, no longer striving to believe harder, learn faster, do more, sin less, and cope better. Instead, we concentrate our efforts on knowing Christ. He gladly responds with increasing intimacy and transformation: “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Four more tips: Go frequently to the written word to meet the Living Word – Read the Bible to meet Jesus, and He will join you there. Obey immediately everything He tells you to do because you know He would never steer you wrong. Serve heartily, but NEVER leave His side to do so. Forget past failures and successes and pursue the prize of knowing Christ.

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