by Wade E Taylor
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuge, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him….” Philippians 3:7-9
Paul has not only given all temporal things to the Lord, but also, he has experienced the actual loss of them. This is followed by the expression of his intense desire that now, eternal things will replace these temporal things that have been removed.
“…But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13 -14
I had owned a TV cable system, which I sold so I could attend Bible school. I was told that I was “out of my mind” to do such a thing. However, looking back, I have gained infinitely more than I gave up. In “that day,” when we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, I cannot imagine the Lord saying, “Well done, Wade Taylor, you have supplied television to thousands of people.”
Now, a much higher calling and purpose rests upon my life, and instead, there are thousands who have gained eternally through my obedience to the Lord’s call. Therefore, this heart cry of Paul has become the desire of my heart and life experience – and hopefully, yours also.
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death.” Philippians 3:10
Through redemption and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, each of us has been set in the Body of Christ with a specific calling and purpose.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” I Corinthians 12:27
As our spiritual life experience unfolds and develops, we should be able to identify our particular place within the Body and begin to function in our calling and ministry.
“And He goes up into a mountain, and called to Him whom He would: and they came to Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.” Mark 3:13-15
“He called to Him whom He would… that they (put your name here) should be with Him, and that He might send them forth....” Our primary calling is to be with Jesus. We cannot come into the fullness of His calling and purpose for us unless we have first spent time with Him – we cannot give what we do not have. If we are faithful in our being with Jesus, He will be faithful in sending us forth in the outworking of His purpose through us.
There are three levels of experiential identification with Jesus in the outworking of our expressed desire to personally know Him.
- “That I might know Him.” We are called to experience an active, personal relationship with Jesus in which we “sup with Him and He with us” (Revelation 3:20). We must come to recognize and respond to His knock upon the “door” of entrance within our spirit. Our prayer should be for us to have an increased ability to hear His voice, and a desire to respond.
- “The power of His resurrection.” To come into a resurrection identity with Jesus, we must first die. Jesus waited until Lazarus “stank” before He spoke the word of resurrection (John 11:39).
- “The fellowship of His sufferings.” We are called to enter into a higher level of identification with Jesus, in which He shares with us a measure of His sufferings concerning the lack of sensitivity to, and desire for, His presence among the redeemed. We are approaching the time of a catching up into a higher level of spiritual life and power (His Parouisa). Those who desire a higher level of identity with Jesus are being made ready for this time.
Paul understood that his coming into these three levels of identification with Jesus would require that he take up his cross in the same condition of mind (being made conformable to His death) as Jesus in the taking up of His cross.
Therefore, in willing obedience, Paul said, “…I die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31).
He is expressing the actual outworking of the commitment that he had made to the Lord – the crucifixion of all that he once valued, in order to gain that for which the Lord has apprehended him. Now, he can seek an out-resurrection into a higher realm of spiritual life in identity with Jesus.
Therefore, he prayed, “If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:11). This speaks of our having a present experience of an “out-resurrection” from among the living dead, as well as a future resurrection at the coming of the Lord. Paul is expressing his intense desire to be identified with Jesus in His resurrection life and power.
We also must surrender all things to the Lord, and likewise experience our “being made conformable to His death.” Then, we too can pray for this “out-resurrection” and come into the same experience of identification with the Lord that Paul experienced.
To do this, we also must pay the price of putting the Lord first in every aspect of our life experience, by dying to all else. This will leave us free to follow the Lamb whithersoever He may choose to lead us. Also, it will be accompanied by an intense desire to intimately know Jesus through the experience of an ongoing active relationship with Him.
No longer will we be like the one who came to the Lord with one talent and said, “I have kept what you gave me so I will be able to go to Heaven. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy myself and will be just careful enough to not squander my salvation.”
Those who are satisfied with all that Jesus accomplished for them on the cross, and desire to go no further, will never hear the Lord say to them:
“Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21
There is a present experience in apprehending eternal things that are available to us. Thus Paul’s intense prayer, “If by any means, I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.” He did not want to live any longer apart from the Lord. He knew the difference between religiously existing, and spiritually living. There is a “quality” spiritual life and experience that is available to us, but it must be intensely desired and sought after.
We are called to experience this out-resurrection from among the living dead, and move toward this higher realm of spiritual life. It is up to us, as to how far we will go in cultivating a quality spiritual life experience – our living in resurrection fellowship with Jesus.
We should never become satisfied with the present state of our spiritual experience and take eternal things for granted. Paul had a marvelous, intense spiritual experience, yet he continued to pray:
“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.” Philippians 3:12
This is one of the most powerful and necessary prayers we could ever pray – “that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended.” We have been truly apprehended of Him. But, the Lord looks upon us, as He did those who received the talents, to see what they would do with them (delivered “…to every man according to his several ability” Matthew 25:15). Thus, there is a present experience in our “apprehending” that which the Lord has for us.
The world looks for natural abilities, but the Lord’s view of us relates to our desire toward Him. Thus, these expressions by the Apostle Paul moved the heart of the Lord toward him – “That I may know Him;” “If by any means I might attain;” “I follow after, if that I may apprehend;” “I press toward the mark.”
Our coming into this present experience of identification with Jesus depends on our seeking Him, rather than our resting in all that has been accomplished for us upon Calvary’s cross – which is our judicial standing. We already have this – we do not need to appropriate it. But we are to seek the purpose that Jesus had in mind when He apprehended us.
During 1957, I was seeking the Lord concerning ministry and thought that anything that was worth doing was already being done. I felt that others had the personality and the ability to do better. Then this verse on “apprehending” became personally real to me, and I began to hold it before the Lord – “that I might apprehend that for which You apprehended me.”
I placed myself fully in His hand and trusted Him for the processing of my life, to bring about the preparation within me for a ministry – whatever it might be. The Lord has been faithful. As I look back over the years, I can only marvel at the wisdom and goodness of the Lord and His continued hand upon my life. He hears and answers our prayers.
He places within us the desire to be apprehended for the very purpose that He had in mind when He first touched our spirit. We must believe this, and begin to seek the outworking of “that for which we also were apprehended.”
And then, “in that day,” Jesus will be able to say to us, “well done.”