The peepers sing their sweet serenade while raindrops crackle like fire licking up a pine bough. I search the skyline for a hint of lingering daylight and breathe a prayer that God will take me deeper on this journey of knowing Jesus through experience.

“What do I need to know as we prepare to head into the summer season of noise and activity?” I pray.

The words of Philippians 3:8 come to mind: “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”  In an instant, I’m reminded that the most important pursuit in my life is knowing Jesus more deeply.


Why Knowing Jesus Matters More Than Anything Else

What is the most important pursuit in your life?

You might be investing your energy into making the world a better place through your career.  Maybe you’re a mom, and you’re trying to raise godly children.  You might be a student with hopes for good grades and a powerful platform from which you might impact the world for Christ.  Perhaps you’re part of a thriving ministry that brings healing and hope to the hurting.

God calls us to join him on mission in the world; however, it’s important to remember that excelling in our careers and callings is not our highest goal.

I spent decades finding my identity through my achievements.  As a student, I was proud of my perfect grades.  When I became a teacher, I was proud of my career choice and my vision for making a positive impact on the world around me.

My accomplishments felt fulfilling for a while, but eventually, I needed to accomplish something else to feel fulfilled.  God radically transformed my life by leading me to the words of Philippians 3:8, which tells us to consider all of our achievements garbage in comparison to knowing Jesus in an experiential way.

Our daily work matters.  God wants us to partner with him and carry his love into the world.  But doing God’s work is not the most important pursuit in our lives; instead, knowing Jesus is the most important pursuit.


Knowing Jesus Through Experience

In the original language, the word for “knowing” is more than head-knowledge.  The word refers to an experiential way of knowing Jesus—a kind of knowing that comes from doing life alongside him.  We come to know Jesus experientially as we watch for his work in our everyday moments, ask him to help us trust him, follow his guidance, seek his comfort, and anchor ourselves in his promises.

About ten years ago, I decided to claim Philippians 3:8 as my life verse.  Above all else, I want my life to be about knowing Jesus—more and more with each passing day.  I want to live a life of love, and love begins with knowing Jesus.


How to Live It Out

But what does knowing Jesus look like on a practical level?  How do we come to know Jesus through experience?  Here are a few points to remember:


1. We join him in what he is doing.

We come to know Jesus through experience as we watch for his movement in our lives and partner with him by loving others. This includes asking him for guidance as we interact with the people he places in front of us.  Every day, Jesus calls us to be vessels of his love.  We join him in his work by intentionally carrying his love to the broken world around us.


2. We keep glancing in his direction all day long.

Song of Solomon 4:9 says we captivate Jesus’ heart with one glance in his direction. The more frequently we glance toward him, the more we will encounter his joy and love.  And Jesus’ joy and love will transform our hearts.


3. We hide his Word in our hearts and apply it to our lives. We renew our minds by hiding God’s Word in our hearts. Do you want to know Jesus more deeply?  Hide his Word in your heart by memorizing Scripture. Think of it throughout your day, and allow his Word to guide your paths.


4. We lean into his grace.

Jim Wilder writes that grace is what happens when God does for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. Where do you need to lean into grace?  Do you need Jesus to help you trust him in uncertainty or break free from a pattern of sin? Ask him to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.  He will show you your role and lead you on level ground.


As for me, I return to the chaos of the house as the rain patters and the peepers’ sing. Walking through the door, I scoop the little one into my arms and leave the messy floors and scattered toys for later.  This way of living present in my moments feels like it might just be ushering me into the life I long for. It feels like I might just be encountering Jesus.