-Philippians 3:12 (CEB)
The goal of life, of my life, is to know Christ. Not to just know about him, but to know him personally. It is very much so, a process.
I remember eagerly reading Knowing God, by J. I. Packer, and being a bit disappointed that I didn't have some sort of infused impartation and a step up in knowing God, after reading that book.
Relationships take time and life happens 'out there' - in your life. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We can get the truth part, but miss the way and miss the life. He works transformation of us by his life in us.
I was in a class once, where a model of 'the stages of growth in God', was being presented. Part of the obvious was that these stages take time. A fellow student, in my class, shared that God had taken him through all these stages in one night. But, in reality, he was a very selfish, domineering, and verbally abusive person. It was much to my fellow classmates chagrin that this fellow was shameless.
Some people really do have a positive experience or get a hold of some truth and feel elation in their souls. They now believe that they have arrived and a degree of pride sets in. Philippians was, in part, written to people just like that, who were deceived. We never arrive. We are made mature and more Christlike over a whole life.
I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go. -Philippians 3:12 (VOICE)Our spiritual experiences with God, in the past, are meant to spur us on to desiring to know him more. "The foretaste gives you a taste for", I heard a wise man say. Where is it that Paul is not there yet, nor perfected? In union with Christ. He has not claimed to have fully grasped the meaning of Christ at this point in time (Hawthorne, p. 151).
The pursuit of Christ, of knowing him, is just that, a pursuit. It is more like a hunt through all sorts of terrain, than a race on a track. There is an ebb and flow in the chase. Sometimes, we are swimming, and other times, it is a slow ascent. There is great effort required in this pursuit, hunt, or chase.
The pursuit is to grab hold of or seize something, which is knowing Christ. The grabbing hold of or seizing is of understanding or grasping with your mind. In a simple phrase, it is 'getting it'. I want to say, "now I am getting it". It is like stepping over into, "ah ha!", or like the figure of speech, when we say, "I see", to mean, "I understand".
In our pursuit of Christ, we are seeking to seize on the understanding, the "getting it" of knowing Christ. We are striving to get a grip, to come to grips with knowing Christ. We are grasping for that.
...but I am pressing on to see if I can capture it, because I have been captured by Jesus Christ. -Phil. 3:12b (Goodspeed)The answer to the question of why does Paul want to pursue Christ and why do his words encourage us to do so, is that He has first pursued us. It all begins with God's initiative. We are in his grip.
The driving force to know Christ, in me, originates in the fact that Christ grabbed a hold of me first. The idea originated with him. He who is the way, knows the way for me; which is to and through him. It has always been about him, so I really don't have to worry about me, because I am in his grip.
Jesus has a hold of me. My whole thing is to pursue him and he has already got me. Knowing he has got me, that I am in his grip, frees me to whole heartedly pursue him. I don't need to worry about my stuff, because he has me.
Jesus captured me with his love. He has seized me and my life is his to do with it whatever he wants to do. That is good news. Whatever issue I face, call it baggage if you want, he has got it. All my stuff, all my junk: he's got it. My passion, that was born in my life in him that he initiated, is to pursue him.
Being already known and seized by him, in his grip; gives me absolute freedom in pursuing knowing him. He is living out his life in my life, with suffering, death, and resurrection. And, I do not at all claim to understand it, nor do I claim have 'arrived'. I am in process, on a journey, or more specifically, on a hunt or pursuit of knowing him. And, I am utterly secure in his grip.