“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11
The letter to the Philippians is one of four written by the Apostle Paul while he was in prison. He wrote it to thank the Philippian church for the gifts that they’d sent to him (Philippians 4:18), and to encourage them to continue looking to Christ as the sole source of their joy and unity.
Joy isn’t something that we naturally associate with imprisonment – especially of an innocent person – yet the word ‘joy’ (or similar) occurs 16 times in his letter to the Philippians. Paul understood that Christian life calls on us not only to believe in Jesus Christ, but also to bear up under suffering for his sake.
Paul embraced the predicament as an opportunity to become a joint-heir with Jesus Christ (“we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together”, Romans 8:16).
In Philippians 3: 10 – 11, Paul says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
The Greek word Paul uses for “know” is “GINOSKO,” an old Jewish expression referring to the union between a husband and wife (Genesis 4:1, Ephesians 3:19). In other words, Paul viewed his suffering as par for the course of forging an intimate relationship with the son of God; to experiencing the grace bought by Jesus Christ’s death (and resurrection) and sharing in the gift of eternal life, which it gives us all.
That is not to say that our journey with Christ will be one of constant suffering, but there may be times when we will be faced with challenges in our lives. At these times we should stand strong in our faith knowing that, we are not alone and we should keep looking to Christ for our joy.
What an incredible perspective we can gain when we set our sights on “the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ”. (Philippians 3: 11).
During this lenten challenge and at all times, may God grant us all the grace to rejoice and spread joy during our times of troubles, and to take heart! For Jesus Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33).