THE DESIRE OF WORSHIP: THAT I MIGHT KNOW HIM
'That I may know him' (Philippians ).
No matter how high the level we
have reached in worship, there are always greater heights to reach. This is
what is so exciting about worship. There
is always more and we should always be seeking to come into a closer
relationship with the Lord. Paul
experienced being carried to the third heaven where he heard things he could
not repeat, (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
I believe that it is impossible for anyone who has been to such heights of glory experientially to tell about it, because we are incapable of understanding. How can anyone explain eternity to us? We have only lived in time. How can we understand the glory of the place where holiness alone can dwell? We have only experienced living in a sinful world. Paul had been carried to these heights, but even though he had worshipped at such a high level, still he cried 'that I might know Him'. There are always more heights to climb. Worship in eternity will bring the worshipper into higher and higher realms of glory. The cry ' that I might know Him' must be the cry of the worshipper at every level of worship.
A worshipper who has entered into worship through praise and thanksgiving can only worship to the extent of his or her experience. The height that we reach in worship is dependent upon the closeness of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Some worshippers have not yet reached the level of a surrendered life but they can offer 'praise and thanksgiving' and say with Paul 'that I might know Him'. We should always be seeking to know Him and to move higher in worship. Whether we have just begun to go up to worship or if we are on the highest level, the prayer is the same 'that I might know Him'.
The height of our worship will depend upon how much we desire to know the beauty of the Lord. The prayer of Paul for the Ephesian believers was 'that Christ may dwell in your hearts'. Paul was praying for people who knew the Lord. He was not praying for their salvation. His prayer was for the Ephesians to fulfil the higher calling to worship. He wanted Christ to be at the centre of their affections that they would know the love of God. This is the higher calling to worship. 'That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.' (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Worship is always centred upon the love of Christ, and the beauty of Jesus is revealed through the cross. When we know the 'love of Christ' then our response will always be to worship. The Apostle John says look at this love that God has shown to us. The Son of God was willing to leave heaven where the angels worshipped Him, and come down to earth to identify Himself with us. He was willing to be scourged, spat upon, and crucified, yet He did it with joy because He knew the Father had given Him a people for His inheritance. 'Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.' (1 John 3:1).
We are called to enjoy a wonderful love relationship with the Son of God. It is a relationship that many Christians never reach. The one who is a worshipper will stand in awe when He beholds 'the King in His beauty' (Isaiah 33:17). Peter had this love for Christ in mind when he wrote that to us who believe 'He is precious' (1 Peter 2:7). He is the One described by Solomon as Altogether Lovely', 'he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend,' (Song of Solomon 5:16). Song of Solomon is written for worshippers who rejoice saying: 'I am my beloved‘s, and my beloved is mine' (Song of Solomon 6:3). When we desire to see the King in His beauty then the pull of worldly things will be taken away. The honours and pleasures of the world are as nothing in comparison to the glory of knowing Christ. The call to worship is the most exciting calling that it is possible to be given.
When believers who have never learnt to worship get to heaven they will be so sad when they realise they were robbed of their opportunity to worship the Lord with their lives. They will see their brothers and sisters in Christ worshipping with joy at the judgment seat of Christ, but they will have nothing to present to the Lord in worship. This is not a judgment of fear; it is a judgment of love, and how we worship then will depend on how we worship now. In the book of Revelation, the Laodicean church had been drawn away from their relationship with Jesus. They gloried in their wealth, possessions, abilities, and their self-reliance. The Lord wanted them to have fellowship with Him. 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.' (Revelation 3:17-18)
When we talk together with believers it is easy to know those who have a close relationship with Christ. They are excited about Jesus, they talk about Jesus, and they are full of the joy of the Lord. I love to be with people who are like this. Paul had so much that he could have trusted in, but in order to be a worshipper he had to disregard all of this and become a fool for Christ. He did this with joy. When we pray 'that I might know Him', then we must also say 'I consider all things as rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ'. If we mean it then we will be willing to face anything with joy in order to win Him. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords gave everything for us so that we can be His, but now that we are in Christ, all that is His is ours. How can we ever understand this love? How can we ever understand the greatness of this calling that we have been called to?
Paul desired only to worship on the highest level. He counted all things as rubbish that he might win Christ. He wanted to be one with Christ in His righteousness, and to worship on the highest levels. He desired to know the power of His resurrection, and worship on the level of the anointing. He desired to worship on the higher level as a fellow participator of His sufferings. He wanted to worship on the highest level of being united with Christ in His eternal purpose by being made conformable to His death. Paul's sights were on having a glorious entrance into heaven so that he could rejoice with great joy, united for all eternity with the One He loved above all. 'That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.' (Philippians 3:10-11).
The desire of the worshipper at every level is to know Christ. The desire to worship begins with being drawn to Christ, but there is no limit to the heights of worship. Paul desired to know Christ even though he had experienced the glory of the Lord in paradise and heard things that he could not repeat.
We will see the beauty of the Lord according to the heights we have reached in worship. A Christian who knows the Lord as Saviour may not understand those who have gone higher in worship to see Him as 'the Altogether Lovely One'. The desire to know Him increases as we move to higher realms in worship, and the desire for the things of the world will decrease according to our longing after Christ. Worship is born out of the desire to 'know Him'. The worshipper will always find more heights in worshipping the Lord because there are no limits to His glory. What we desire will determine what we seek after. The longing of our hearts should always be to 'know Him'.