The Apostle Paul had a definite passion to serve God. Even before his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul strictly observed God's law; "as for legalistic righteousness, faultless" (Philippians 3:6). But after being confronted by Jesus, his focus forever changed; his passion remained, but his every desire now centered around faith in Jesus and the good news of His gospel message.
"I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death."
Paul pursued an intimate relationship with Jesus and sought to be identified with His death and resurrection. He knew the only way to experience the power of Jesus was to live as a new creation whose sinful nature had been crucified with Christ; and as a new creation, he continually desired to know his Creator.
Truly knowing Jesus Christ is much more than simply knowing "about"
Him. We can fill our head with every possible biblical fact and still never know Christ. To know Him is to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; to trust Him regardless of our circumstances, and to draw close to His side in our joy as well as our suffering. Nothing else in life has any real meaning; "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8a).
Paul's passion for Jesus allowed him to loose his hold of all worldly attachments; "I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8b). This uncontested supremacy of Jesus allowed Paul to be "content in any and every situation" (Philippians 4:12). By giving himself fully to knowing Christ, Paul gained true contentment and peace.
We have the same ability to know Christ today. We are also promised the same results! Peace and contentment will NEVER be achieved through more possessions, activities, or relationships - these are ALL temporary and will fade away with time. Our life will only be truly content when we give ourselves to Jesus and love Him without reservation; we will only be filled with His peace as we seek to know Him.
We may never be asked to give up much for the sake of the gospel; but then again, we may be asked to give up everything! Either way, our heart must always hold loosely to the things of this world. Anything which cannot be released has effectively become a god and crowds the throne which MUST be reserved for the King of Kings. Let's reconsider our priorities - where we spend our time and what commands our thoughts and consumes our energy. Let's give ourselves fully to Him and make sure nothing has become more important than knowing Christ.