Wade E Taylor
In Philippians 3:5-10, Paul gives expression to the fact that there is much that can be apprehended and experienced beyond that which he had known as a Pharisee.
"That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made
conformable unto His death ... not as though I had
already attained, either were already perfect: but
I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for
which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" Phil 3:10,12.
He had come to know that the Lord can be personally, intimately known. The Jews of his day did not have this concept. They saw only the structured religious system which they sought to protect.
Paul said, "That I might know Him." This is a knowing that transcends all religious form and doctrine and finds its fulfillment in deep personal communion with the Lord. It includes not only information about Him, but an ongoing involvement with Him, as He leads and directs.
"The power of His resurrection" can only be experienced after we have surrendered the totality of our being to the Lord and died to our self-life and ways. Only then can we identify ourselves with Him in the power of His resurrection.
This leads toward a place of identification with Jesus that few experience, "the fellowship of His sufferings." Examples of this are the sufferings of the Lord over lost humanity, and the dullness of our spiritual hearing. He desires our fellowship and longs that we come to Him. He has a purpose for each of our lives.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus unto good works, which God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them" Eph 2:10.
We may not understand how the Lord becomes personally interested in us as though we were the only person in the universe, and how He has a special purpose and calling for each of us. It is not necessary that we understand these things, but it is vitally important that we respond to Him as He seeks to becomes personally involved in our lives.
When we are too dull of hearing to respond and as a result come short of all He intends, He suffers; for as a loving Father He longs for us to come into the best, just as we desire the best for our children.
When Paul became aware of the possibility of entering into an active relationship with the Lord in communion and fellowship, he counted all else as refuse and began to seek that for which he had been apprehended by the Lord. The desire for spiritual things became the priority of his life.
"If by any means I might attain unto the
resurrection of the dead" Phil 3:11.
Paul was not expressing a concern about losing his salvation. Rather, there is a much deeper meaning that speaks of an "out resurrection" from a natural course of life into the realm where the Lord uniquely puts His hand upon a life in a cooperative relationship.
For example, years ago I had owned a television cable system
which I sold to attend
Before long, our food was gone. One of my children discovered that a quantity of squash had been sent to the school dump. We took it home and began a diet of squash three times a day. This was all we had to eat. A great reduction took place, as my pride and all self-sufficiency was being dealt with.
During this time, I was given money to go home for a weekend. When I saw the man to whom I had sold the business, he showed me a new Cadillac and told me he had paid cash for it. Then he showed me a large boat and said he had paid cash for it. He had purchased the very home we had intended to buy and extensively remodeled it; he had paid cash for these improvements also.
All this stung as nothing else could. We were eating squash
I had grown up in a small coal mining town in
Feeling that I should do this, I used a compass to mark off a twenty mile circle around my home town so I could be close to them to fulfill my responsibility. Gradually the Lord worked on me until I felt that I was more willing to go to one of the poles or to the equator than I was to stay within the circle I had drawn.
During this time, I began to understand that the Lord had a purpose for my life, and that He would provide for my needs and make a way for the ministry He would impart into my being. In the Lord's time, I was led to Pinecrest where the Lord has marvelously worked in the lives of those whom He has sent over the past twenty seven years. I saw my parents both saved and cared for until the end of their lives far better than I could have done had I stayed near home.
After this diet of squash for several weeks, the Lord directed me to work at a factory that made frames for furniture. I was hired for $1.05 per hour. Night after night I was sent alone with a large truck to a railroad siding to unload rough cut hard wood lumber from a railroad boxcar. Early one Saturday morning while unloading lumber in the freezing rain, I met the Lord in a depth beyond anything I had known. Later, I was released from this and my life was transformed during a visitation that came to the school.
Years later through an unusual set of circumstances, the Lord made a way for Pinecrest to come into being. Eating squash from the school dump and the pressures of unloading boxcars of lumber was a part of my preparation for all that was to follow, in which I have had to implicitly trust the Lord.
Now that I can look back, I would never trade any of this for all I might have had through owning a TV cable system. Nor would I bypass the experience of eating squash from the school dump, or the pressures of the extremely difficult work I had experienced. My inner being was changed and prepared to become a usable vessel in the hands of the Lord, that the riches of His presence, and the transformation of lives that takes place in this presence, might have its full outworking.
"For many are called, but few are chosen" Matt 22:14.
There is another way to say this. "Many are called, but few will pay the price in order to be chosen." The circumstances in the lives of others may be quite different than those I faced. The Lord does not duplicate His workings. But if we are to come into that which He has reserved for us, we must submit to His dealings and come His way.
We may say, "This is not fair, I have my rights." In our natural, self-centered lives, this may be true. But once we have submitted all to Him and made Him Lord, we have no rights. There is an out-resurrection from all we had known into that which He has prepared for us. Except we first go down in death, there will be no rising. The extent to which we are willing to go down will determine the distance we will be brought up.
Some time ago, I saw a picture of some high rise buildings
in Basil. They were so anxious to build them that they forgot to first go down
to build a substantial foundation. As a result, these building were leaning and
about to fall over. When the
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man,
which built his house upon a rock: And the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it
was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish
man, which built his house upon the sand: And the
rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds
blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and
great was the fall of it" Matt 7:24-27.
It is so important that we allow the Lord to do all that He desires in the establishing of the foundation of our spiritual experience. We must allow the Lord to bring us through even difficult things that we, nor others, seemingly understand. But the Lord understands and we must trust Him in all things, knowing that He knows what He is doing.
"And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according
to His purpose" Rom 8:28.