I have been turning five words over and over in my mind. They are nestled in the middle of the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi:
~ I want to know Christ (v. 3:10) ~
God has been teaching me something profound in those five words, so let’s read them one more time, slowly.
~ I want to know Christ ~
As we attempt to draw the marrow out of this verse, I want to look first at what Paul meant. Then we’ll talk about how we can know Christ intimately. Finally, we’ll think about why we should lead others to this knowledge.
What did Paul mean?
When Paul writes of “knowing,” he uses three different Greek words that linguists have translated to our English verb “know”. As I studied them, I came to see them as layers.
The first layer relates to things we have committed to memory, like the alphabet.
The second layer is knowledge gained by understanding or clarity—we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
The last layer consists of learned knowing, like how to ride a bike. It also means to come to know something intimately or to be a student of it. When we know people at this level, we have experienced who they are. We know how they tick, what they like, and what they dislike. We know what makes them laugh and cry. This is the type of knowing that Paul is writing about to the Philippians.
I once served as a summer missionary in Asia where I made a great friend named Ruth. Many people around her had repeatedly told her about Christ, but she didn’t seem interested. She had heard of Jesus, but she hadn’t grasped her need for Him. She knew of Jesus at a very superficial level.
Her story wasn’t over.
About a year after I left, I received an email from one of the missionaries that Ruth finally wanted to learn more about Jesus. After years and years of hearing about Him, she started asking questions and attending church.
A few months later I received a text from Ruth with a video attached. I cried tears of utter joy as I watched Ruth being baptized! Ruth now has a relationship with Christ and she is getting to know Him more intimately every day.
This is third layer knowledge—knowing Christ in a deep and profound way.
What it looks like
First of all, it won’t look the same for everyone. Everyone is different, so we can’t compare our relationship with Jesus to someone else’s. Don’t compare. It will only leave you frustrated and discouraged.
Instead, live in intimacy with Christ by learning how you best connect with God. How do you tick? Is it reading the Bible for large chunks of time? Singing worship music at the top of your lungs? Spending time in the great outdoors? Journaling? Praying? Dancing? Creating art? Figure out what brings you closer to God and do it!
I connect with Jesus intimately on the golf course. It puts me in a position to know Christ more. I have to depend on Him to keep my attitude in check when my game starts to go downhill. I see His beauty when I play on a course in the mountains. I get hours of uninterrupted prayer when I’m practicing on the range.
Make time to do what brings you closer to God. Let Him fill you with His Spirit, because we can’t lead women into intimacy with Christ when we our relationship with Him is strained.
Now, you might be thinking, “Courtney, all this intimacy with Christ talk is great in theory, but don’t you get that I have friendships to maintain, a church to serve, an children to wrangle, a husband to love, parents to care for, a house to clean, a full-time job, meals to cook…” and on and on and on.
I promise I get it—I’m in seminary. I have finals to take, papers to write, and deadlines to meet. I struggle to pursue intimacy with Christ. But I find encouragement in Paul’s words, and I hope you do too.
Get away with God. Clear out the spiritual and emotional clutter, and ask God to fill you with the knowledge—the third layer knowledge—of Him.
A gentle challenge
I can’t ask you to do something that I haven’t done myself, so I looked at my schedule and blocked off 30 minutes to sit with the Lord. I began by simply asking Him to show me what it looks like for me, 24-year-old seminary student, to pursue intimacy with Him. He began to remind me of the things that bring me joy. So I jotted those down – one being Golf.
After realizing how I can best pursue intimacy with Christ, I asked the Spirit to show me who I’m leading to know Christ intimately. He brought to mind several women, as well as types of women in the future I will encounter.
Then, I concluded my time by praying these simple words, “Father, thank you for your constant pursuit of me, even when I play “impossible to get”. Please empower me to pursue You every day. Help me to lead women to seek You intimately, because You’re all I have to give them.”
My prayer is that you will take time this week to sit with Jesus. Think through how you are to pursue intimacy with Christ, because to know Him is to know life.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
—2 Peter 1:2 NIV
About The Author
Courtney Munson was born and raised in Brownwood, Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication and Media Studies from Texas A&M University and is currently working toward her Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. Courtney now lives in Dallas, close to her big brothers, and enjoys babysitting her energetic and fun-loving nieces and nephews.