This month has provided exceptional devotionals in the book, Morning and Evening. Today’s musing centers around the knowledge of Christ.
It’s easy for us to divorce the heart from the head. Metaphorically, one is for warm feelings and the other is for cold knowledge. We often separate them as if man is composed of a three-part mixture instead of two. The Bible, however, uses the terms interchangeably. Genesis 6:5 says:
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
That is an interesting way for God to describe the situation. The metaphorical heart doesn’t think, after all. How often has someone advised you to stop thinking about a certain situation in order to follow your heart? How did that work out? Why would we ever pursue one without the other? Instead of divorcing the two, what if we combined them (heart and head) into one concept and called it “the soul?” How would such a shift affect our considerations, emotions, and devotions?
When I was a kid, I thought you had to spend hours at the altars to steal glimpses of God’s glory. Emotions were high and knowledge was low. You can imagine the surprise when I discovered the joys of knowing Christ through His Word. There is nothing stale or stagnant about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. His power continues beyond the conviction of sin and regeneration. He illumines the Scriptures, inflames our desires, and continually shapes us into the image of Christ. The more of my Savior I see, the greater He becomes to me.
The knowledge of Christ is personal, intelligent, affectionate, satisfying, exciting, and joyous. Growing in that knowledge is not an academic exercise. It is the key to life. Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
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I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
— Philippians 3:8
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account.
It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know Him not as in the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices (Prophet, Priest and King)—His attributes—His works—His shame—His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”1
It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind will be full to the brim—I will feel that I have that which my spirit longs for. This is the bread that satisfies all hunger.
At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I will want to know. The higher I climb, the loftier will be the summits that invite my eager footsteps. I shall want more as I get more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more.
To conclude, this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating that sometimes it will completely lift me above all trials and doubts and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man . . . born of a woman . . . few of days and full of trouble,” for it will throw about me the immortality of the ever-living Savior and cover me with the golden cloak of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’ feet, and learn of Him all this day.
1 Ephesians 3:18-19