Do I know him?
A few of years ago I had a monumental anniversary of sorts. I celebrated 30 years of being a Christ follower. It caused me to reflect on my story of faith. I came to a saving knowledge of Christ the summer before third grade. My journey with Christ took some twists and unexpected turns, but there was always a constant relationship with Jesus (Thank you God!)
I have the enormous blessing of having been raised by Christian parents who were dedicated to raising me in the body of Christ. I spent a lot of time at church. On Sundays I was all in! Sunday school 9:30, church service at 11, home for lunch for a few hours, back for youth group ensemble rehearsal, followed by youth choir, then Sunday night church and after that we would sometimes go out for pizza together. I have no idea how I squeezed in hand bells, but they were there too. (Stop laughing.)
Even after I left the direct influence of my parents, I seized my faith as my own. I went on to earn two faith-based degrees from Christian universities, serving in the body of Christ and growing as I served. For bonus points I married a man who, for a time, served as a youth pastor and I happily assumed assorted roles to support others coming into a relationship with Jesus at the same church he worked at. Even now, I have been given the privilege to serve at my church on staff through a variety of ministry opportunities that continue to expose me to the Word of God.
I think it is pretty reasonable to estimate that I have heard thousands of sermons, attended dozens and dozens of Bible studies, retreats, camps and small group sessions. So, what does that mean? Not as much as you would think. I still find it necessary to ask myself, “Do I know him?”
Our small group has been studying the book of Philippians. In the third chapter Paul is teaching that a Christ follower is always to keep striving for more in their faith in Christ. Paul describes his own effort to grow in verse 10 when he writes “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” He goes on to say that he hasn’t already obtained this, but those who believe should “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (vs.14)
Philippians 3:15 says “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise God will reveal that also to you.” This is what connects with me today. Surely my decades of Christ following have poured valuable knowledge about God into my mind. (Oh, if only my mind would have retained it all!) But right here in the book of Philippians Paul, whose knowledge of Scripture and Hebrew tradition would have made my puny degrees look like elementary, says that even he strives to KNOW Christ. My relationship with God is not just knowing about God, it’s about knowing God. I hope I always stop to reflect and ask myself this question: Do you know God or do you know about God?
“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
Father God, I am blessed to have come into a saving knowledge of you. You have known me since you created me in my mother’s womb. You know all of me from the beginning to the end. Spirit, continue to empower me to yearn, strive, stretch, press, and even pant, towards a greater knowledge of you. Reveal truths to me that I have never known before. Make me so familiar with you that I may lead others towards you with confidence and enthusiasm. Make me KNOW you not just about you. Help me to DELIGHT in you and your presence in my life. Jesus never let me be satisfied. Keep me always thirsty for more of you.
What are some differences between knowing about God and knowing God? We’d love for you to let us know in the comment section below!