What does it mean to “pressing on?” In Philippians 3:10 Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” Paul desired an intimate, personal, experiential relationship with Christ on every human level possible! We are all about knowing the power of his resurrection, but completely miss that right after the power line comes “the fellowship of His sufferings.” Knowing Jesus includes knowing suffering.
We say we want to know Christ, and yet when things comes into life that will help us in attaining knowledge of Him on more than a superficial level we whine and complain and immediately begin asking God to take it away!
We are content with head knowledge about suffering and are quite willing to press on through the other side of the situation as long as it does not include much suffering, but we really don’t want application of the “pressing on” part.
What most people completely miss is that in the trenches is where our head knowledge about God comes to life! When I am pressing on in suffering I can go back to my sound theology and preach truth to myself. I can understand how to apply James 1 and 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 because my theology teaches me that God has a purpose in my pressing on in the trial, there is a purpose in suffering.
This is applying theology to real like, to every day problems, and these things help me to “know Christ!” You and I become deeply acquainted with Him in dark days. Our faith is built up as we watch His faithfulness and see that His mercies are indeed new every morning. In our trials, our theology is inhaling and exhaling, it is living and breathing, and you and I are “knowing Christ.”
In Ephesians 1:17 Paul is praying for the Ephesian church to come to know God in a deeper way. He says, ” 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.” The word “know” means in this context to know with full discernment, to know fully. That sounds pretty good! Getting the Spirit of wisdom and revelation…but that is so we can understand the reason for the trials, the reason for the pain, the reason it is hard to press on, and to understand the hope of our calling and election as we face the stuff of life.
You can know Jesus is God from reading it in a book, or commentary as in a study of theology; or you can Know Him experientially as He meets the need of the moment faithfully day by day as you press on toward that ultimate prize- the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.