We have all heard the expression it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The same phrase applies to our relationship with Christ. There may be many things we intellectually know about Christ but is it knowledge that remains in our head or does it seep down to our hearts? For example, I can know theology the way I can know about geometry or home economics. I can also say I know what is going on about a certain situation in life. There is even a certain type of head knowledge that Paul told the Corinthians which was detrimental to their faith. He wrote in I Corinthians 8:1, 2, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” Such knowledge is not what Paul was seeking.
In Philippians 3:10 Paul said concerning Christ, “That I may know Him…” In what way did he want to know Christ? We can say that nothing is truly known until it is practiced in our daily life or in some way allowed to control our conduct. Job 28:28 says, “To depart from evil is understanding.” You can also know someone in a very personal way. You know their likes and their dislikes as well as their moods and dispositions.
So how do we make our what we know to who we know in our Christian life? First of all, do you have a desire to know Jesus intimately? This means do you desire to awake with Him in the morning and to live each day with Him?
In Philippians 4:8, 9 Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (emphasis mine). What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” These two verses help us understand more of what it means to know Jesus. Kent Hughes says, “Nothing of moral excellence and nothing that would earn the praise of God or man must be left out of the Philippians’ contemplation. And the command is ongoing: ‘Think (continually) on these things’—let your mind continually dwell on these things. Ponder them without ceasing.”
If we think about each one of the qualities Paul names, how would it affect the way that we live and honor God? What you know about Christ should affect not only your personal life but your relationship with others. For example, take truth. If we believe that truth begins with Jesus who is the embodiment of truth then His word should have an impact on our thoughts and our actions. We have an absolute on which to base our life.
A mind that contemplates what is true not only sees Christ, the Word, and the gospel but also rationally seeks truth in every area of life, from faith to science to relationships to public life to business.
Honorable signifies a moral excellence that should have an influence on my character.
What is just or right is defined by the character of God. We can also use these words in defining our thoughts or our actions. In other words we are to contemplate the things that make for just living—doing the right thing.
What is pure extends to every area of moral purity in thought, speech and actions. We are to focus on that which is not tainted with evil.
And lovely includes not only what is morally lovely but also what is lovely in creation and in human lives.
If we transfer what we know to the person of Jesus who we know and apply these principles to our daily living, think how much better off we would be.