Top of the To-Do List
Philippians 3:10-11: I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (NIV)
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What does your to-do list look like?
Does it ever get close to completed or is it growing faster than you can check things off? You probably have some very important tasks on the list: complete the project at work, make lunches for children, laundry, bathe the dog, the typical stuff. Have you ever considered what should be at the very top of your list?
The Apostle Paul considered his to-do list and came to an important conclusion as to what should be on the top of his list which might be helpful for you to emulate. He decided that what he needed to do more than anything was “to know Christ.” Did Paul need to plant churches? Yes. Did he need to share the gospel? No doubt. Did he need to encourage new Christians in their walk with the Lord? Most assuredly. But for him, it all started with the deepest of desires to know Christ.
Notice how Paul wanted to know Jesus:
1. Paul wanted to know the power of the resurrection.
In knowing who Jesus is, Paul was consumed with experiencing the power that raised Jesus from the dead. That resurrection power is life changing power. It is power that can be used by God to make an impact on the world. Whatever Paul was called to do and what he desired to accomplish, he knew that it was only through the power of God in his life that anything of lasting value could be accomplished. So, he sought that power.
2. Paul wanted to participate in the sufferings of Christ.
I know what you are thinking: “Wait just one minute. My to-do list has tasks I would just as soon not have to do, but I none of it makes me suffer.” Who signs up for suffering? Who volunteers to seek out that kind of difficulty? Who intentionally pursues tough times? Paul knew that the suffering that Jesus endured, especially leading up to and on the cross, was so sinners could be freed from the bondage of sin and live in the freedom of forgiveness. Not only was Jesus willing to suffer in that way, He actually considered the end result to be a joy. (See Hebrews 12:1-2.) Paul was also willing to suffer so that others could hear and respond to the good news of Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 11:23-29.) Would you let knowing Christ, even in His sufferings, go to the top of your to-do list if it meant others whom you have influence over would experience Christ? For that, Paul would suffer.
3. Paul wanted to become like Jesus in His death.
Paul was willing to die to himself so that Christ could fully live in Him. (See Galatians 2:20.) Until you choose to deny yourself, die to yourself, and let the fullness of Christ live in you, at least a part of your life will be kept from being surrendered completely to God. But, when you die to yourself, to your desires, and to your pursuits, and live for God’s call on your life, you can be used of God in mighty and powerful ways. You can be used at work. You can be used at home. You can be used at school. You can be used with your friends. But, you have to die to yourself first.
Ultimately, Paul wanted to know Christ more than anything else he wanted to do. And, he understood that in knowing Christ he would know His power, His suffering, and even His death. Do you need to rearrange your to-do list and put “Knowing Christ” at the top of that list? Nothing else will really matter until you do. You can still do the other things on your list. Just let “Knowing Christ” be the most important item for you to accomplish and watch how God will use you.
Especially when my to-do list gets unmanageable, please let me always have on the top of that list knowing Your Son, Jesus. I want to know His power. I want to know His suffering. And, I want to even know His death. Then, I can be used of You to accomplish everything You want me to accomplish for Your glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.