My wife and I grew up in the late sixties and early seventies. The youth of these decades were characterized in the public media by their explorations into the sexual revolution, experimenting with mind altering drugs, and a whole array of experimentations into areas beyond the scope of what had been the socially accepted norm.
It is interesting to note that modern historians and social scientists now tend to downplay the impact that was really made to change the status quo during that time. “Many… are beginning to think that ‘revolution’ is too much of an overstatement”. A 1990 report on the sexual revolution concluded that “While the term ‘revolution’ implies radical and widespread change, this was not necessarily the case. Even in the ‘liberal’ sixties, conservative, traditionalist views were widely held…” ("A Report: The Sexual Revolution?" Tom W. Smith, The Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 3. (Autumn, 1990), p. 419 at )
In my many years working with our youth and the young college/career age groups in the local church, I have come to understand that questioning the status quo and experimentation is an expected, healthy and normal activity for these individuals. It is a time of discovery for them as they navigate through the vast changes that are going on in their minds, bodies, emotions and intellect. My job (as well as every Christian in the church) has been to help introduce Jesus into the process and to mentor them in discovering the importance and benefits of giving Him a central role in everything they do in life!
The process of experimenting with things in life is something that many adults tend to leave behind as they mature. I personally feel that as Christians we are called to continually push the envelope of our beliefs by experimenting with what we should be continually learning in the truth in God’s Word. Does that sound a little risky or maybe even too secular to anyone?
I sense that this is exactly what Paul is talking about in Philippians 3:10 where he states: “For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers]…” (The Amplified Bible)
The Geneva Bible Translation Notes defines this as saying: “That I may indeed feel him, and have an experience of him.” Adam Clarke states that this infers that we are “to know him to be the true and promised Messiah, and experience all that salvation which he has bought by his blood.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown simply comment that Paul is saying “That I may know him – experimentally.” Dictionary.com defines the action of “experimentation” as “an act or operation for the purpose of something unknown or of testing a principle or supposition.” It also calls it an “experience.”
Paul is encouraging us to step out in faith and experience ALL that God has for us in His Word of truth! In my understanding, this is the Holy Ghost anointed approval to experiment with the promises which Christ’s salvation provides for you and me. Like I mentioned yesterday, that is exactly what my wife and I have endeavored to do in our Christian walk. We have literally taken the challenge of Paul’s in Ephesians “to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breath! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18 The Message)
Has it always been easy? NO! Have we always fully met our intended goals? NO! Has that caused us to give up? NO! I read recently were many millionaires have gone bankrupt - some numerous times – in their pursuit of success. They have an inner stamina and belief that keeps them going on until they succeed. Walt Disney “was fired by a newspaper editor because ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’ He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff” (http://www.incomediary.com/went-bankrupt-now-worth-millions)
And you know… as Christians we have something far greater than many of these individuals did to base our pursuit of life on. It is called a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, the one Who literally supplies us with our next breath! The Almighty God who promises you and me that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 MKJV)
You and I have a relationship with a perfect God with a perfect word. The work, pursuit and resiliency of our faith comes into play though, due to the fact that we live in a fallen world that will fight us most steps along the way to experiencing all that Papa God has for us. That should be a known when we step out in experimentation of His goodness and grace. I must admit that it has always surprised me when mature Christian friends and relatives have questioned or tried to dissuade us from trying a second time when things may not have totally worked out on the first try. I figure that we learned a lesson the first time and then take the extra precautions to not hit that wall again and move forward to step out in faith, based on, supported by and empowered by our increasingly deeper revelation and understanding of the truth of His Word.
To me, that is the only way that I can truthfully and fully follow Paul’s encouragement to become “more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him… and in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection…” It also makes for quite an exciting lifestyle! I was never one to settle for the mundane… How about you? Have a great day. Stay in tune and active in God’s Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s promises am I going to experiment with today?”