Yet we read from Paul in words of great aspiration:
Paul's drive is evident in this passage, and in those words. Yet we would think that Paul already knows the Lord. And he does, just like every person who has a living faith in Christ does. But I wonder if at times it seems like we hardly know the Lord at all. We can get so taken up with other things that our communion with Christ can become something we take for granted, or don't treasure as we should.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...
Part of the joy in getting to know someone is the longing and anticipation for that knowing. I think this is in part what Paul may be getting at in this passage. He wants to know Christ so much better. He has tasted and seen that the Lord is indeed good, and he wants much more. And I think God grows our capacity for more intimacy and communion with him, so that what may have been good for us three years ago or less, is not good enough now.
Participation in Christ's sufferings and becoming like him in his death are words with an aspiration which may seem foreign to us. Yet if we're to be true followers of Christ this aspiration needs to become more and more our own. Not something we can do, but something done in us by the Spirit as we seek to follow on with Christ in the new life in him.
I'm seeking to be a true follower with the same aspiration, by grace. Which surely means some hard times, inside and out, but with a closer communion with Jesus and others in Jesus, while seeking to bring others into that same communion in him.
What might you like to add to this?