More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
There is a big difference between knowing God intellectually and knowing God experientially.
Is it possible for a person to think that he knows is a Christian, everything is excellent, and he is not doing anything wrong, and therefore there is nothing to worry about? Yes, it is possible, and in fact, many are in that line of thinking.
Now I got these thoughts. The reason why many believers, old or new, do not grow in their Christian lives is that they are missing something in their line of thinking. Some maybe never came to the point of being indeed converted into their hearts because of a misconception. What is the misunderstanding? That if one knows God intellectually, they are believers and Christians. That is not always true. Yes, we need intellectual knowledge of the truth of the gospel and the word of God as a whole, but it should not stop there for it to cause an effect in our lives. We need to let the truth of the word of God sink in through our life, character, and experiences. In that sense, intellectual knowledge becomes experiential, and the result is genuine Christian growth.
For example, we claim that “God is our protection,” and we know that. But God knows that it requires more than knowledge for us to prove that. So, God will make it experiential, in a way that he will allow us to be in a dangerous situation, and then God will display His protection on us. This makes the concept of God’s protection realistic because we indeed experienced His protection. That’s why the Psalmist said in the fourth verse of Psalm 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me! Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” David has been in numerous dangerous situation. That is why many of the things written in the book of Psalms are the products of those actual situations that he experienced.
The crucial question is, how are we going to shift from intellectual knowledge to experiential knowledge in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Paul wanted that his understanding of God and the Lord Jesus Christ will be more profound than what’s in mind. Not just theory about God’s and Jesus’s power. He wanted to experience God personally. We know Paul to be a man of accomplishments and achievements. We can read those in verses 4-6 of Philippians chapter 3. Paul was able to shift because of his intentional resolution in verse 7, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” Then in the first part of verse 8, More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.” That’s the answer to our question on how to shift from intellectual to experiential knowledge. Paul said, “I count all things to be loss.” That’s the only way for us to know Christ through experience! To let go of the things that we thought are good and beneficial to us, thereby we trust in them instead of trusting God. The scriptures said that apart from Christ we can do nothing and we are nothing (John 15: 1-5).
Have you experienced God? I pray that you will choose Paul’s resolution to genuinely experience Christ in your life.