“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 NASB
As a former licensed then ordained pastor in the Church of God (Anderson, IN) I know the Bible pretty well. I can quote you verses and give you their background and context. I have been formerly educated at William Jessup University in Christian Leadership and Theology. I have served in various churches as a volunteer youth leader as well as a paid professional minister. I have preached sermons, taught classes, and developed Christian discipleship classes. I know the word of God, but I can say that I really don’t know the Word, that is Jesus Christ. Yes, I’m a born again believer in Christ.
Does this biographical paragraph sound somewhat familiar to you? It should, the apostle Paul echoed similar words to describe his “spiritual pedigree” in Philippians 3. He said,
“I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” Philippians 3:5-8 NLT
The funny thing to me about this passage of Scripture is that a few years ago I preached from it about the topic of really knowing Christ. Yet, at that time I believed that I did know Him. During this current spiritual journey that began about a year ago, I have discovered that I am lacking when it comes to real intimacy with Christ. Now, my journey is focused on getting to know Him. This now requires that I set aside old ways of thinking about some of the “spiritual basics” I have been taught over the past 30 years. Perhaps you are familiar with some of them. “Read your Bible every day.” “I have to go to church because its Sunday.” “I have spiritual gifts so I must serve somewhere in my church.” I could name so many more of these examples. Yet, none of these things has truly helped me to know Christ, my Lord. I have only gained knowledge, but not life through the spiritual disciplines. Paul regarded his past religious pedigree has “garbage” or “dung”. I now can see how I would agree with him about my spiritual background. In this season, I believe He is calling me to know Him in a manner that is real and leads to life rather than religion.
Would you say you truly know Christ or like me for so many years, I just know about Him? Feel free to comment.