The end (that is, the goal) of the Christian life is not really heaven (or at least, not primarily heaven). Heaven is merely a “place” (a spiritual place, granted, but still “just” a place). What makes heaven desirable, or all it’s cracked up to be, is not where it is or what’s there, but Who is there (cf. Col. 3:1). A throne-room is only as magnificent as the king who rules therefrom. What makes Heaven everything it should be is God (cf. Rev. 20:11; 21:1-4, 22-23).
No, the destiny God has for each Christian is that he would be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29), for “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:15). It is through this process of transformation into Christ’s likeness that we actually accomplish knowing Christ. Not just knowing about Him, but truly knowing Him.
Philippians 3 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. It speaks to me in very personal tones and I can relate to Paul. Here he cuts out all of his own accomplishments, pedigrees, honors, accolades, and prizes – they no longer have any value to him because of the “surpass¬ing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8).
Take your own list of greatest hits, high moments, and best days, take everything of which you are proud and every achievement, and weigh them all together on the scales against the “worth of knowing Christ” and see the scales tip in favor of the “surpassing worth” of knowing Jesus. Intimacy with Jesus is not just worth “something,” but it’s worth more than everything. To Paul, all his previous resume is garbage in comparison (3:8). You and I will never value Christ appropriately unless we stack up the whole of our lives against the worth of knowing Him, identifying with Him, and becoming like Him – and see that the worth of the later is “surpassing” the worth of anything else.
In this chapter Paul gives several ways by which he comes to know Christ: …by boasting in Christ, …by considering former gains as losses, …by gaining Christ, …by being found in Him, …by having faith in Him, …by knowing the power of His resurrection, …by sharing in His sufferings, …by becoming like Him.
Jesus prayed, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”