In our lives, we often look to others who have gone before for wisdom. A first-time mother-to-be will seek out the wisdom of other mothers. A young professional will often look to emulate the career path of others at the top of their field. Even the youngest of children will often copy their older siblings as they are learning their way in the world.
In the Christian walk there are also many examples for us to look to, both those in the Bible and those who have been heroes of the faith. The Apostle Paul allowed his life to be an example for all who read his letters. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages his readers by sharing his own story. A man of high status, he laid that all down to pursue Christ. The purpose of his sacrifice was four-fold. He states, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10)
Paul laid down his privileged position because of his intense desire to know Christ. This knowledge was not just a head knowledge, but a heart knowledge that comes from a life of experience with Christ. Through his trials and tribulations, Paul came to know Christ on a deeper level. He even considered everything he had given up as rubbish when he compared it to the value of knowing Christ.
Paul wrote, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) For us to consider what this looks like, we really must ask ourselves if we hunger to know God the way that Paul did. What are we willing to give up so that we might get to know him. Are we afraid to walk through difficult circumstances, so we avoid them at all costs. In seeking worldly ease, we might just be missing out on a deeper experience with Jesus, and a deeper knowledge of Him. All too often we trade away eternal overflowing joy for the bliss of shallow earthly happiness. When the challenges of life approach you, walk through, confident, knowing that these momentary light afflictions are producing a deeper intimacy and greater knowledge of the one who saved our souls.
” For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:17