Today’s #IKnowHim story comes from someone that knew about Jesus his whole life. Read Dr. Wolfe’s story to see how his life changed when he realized that this was not the same as knowing Jesus, and how desiring to really know Him has influenced every area of his life.
I grew up in church—my Dad was a pastor. I gave my life to Jesus and was baptized at a very early age. But it wasn’t until my third year of college that I really began to surrender myself to the all-encompassing truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the gospel is true, it is radically true. It claims to touch every area of my life and to define my very existence: once lost and dead in sin, the gospel brought me to life through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5). The gospel took me from total ruin before God to total favor in Him.
For two years (yes, I was on the 5-year plan) I sat in the parking lot of Lamar University in Beaumont, TX every single morning, digging into God’s Word and prayerfully searching the heart of this God who had redeemed me. I figured that if I claimed to believe what was in this Book, I had better start familiarizing myself with its contents. The result: I grew in my faith more in those two years than I had my entire life. The words of the Psalmist became the daily cry of my heart: “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set Your ordinances before me. I cling to Your decrees; Lord, do not put me to shame. I pursue the way of Your commands, for You broaden my understanding,” (Psalm 119:30-32). God opened my eyes in those years to how He was working within me, through me, and around me.
It became increasingly apparent to me that if this gospel really was what it claimed to be, there was no part of my life it should not touch. If I had staked my claim on the reality of God’s mercy and grace found at the foot of Jesus’s cross, then I could stand on nothing other than the authority and sufficiency of His Word in every area of my life. I still struggled with obedience to God’s Word in many ways. My witness was far from perfect. At times I look back on those years with shame to know that my words and actions often defamed the name of Christ instead of faming it. But in those moments, at the lowest point of my humbled regret, God reminds me that there is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1). True forgiveness and acceptance of a changed heart is not common from those who have witnessed our past failures. But for the Christian who humbles himself in confession of sin, “God is faithful and just to forgive, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). Through testimonies of restoration (and through blogs such as this one), the God of our salvation redeems even our failures for His glory.
There have been many catalyst moments in my walk with Jesus over the years. But this sweet time of daily communion with God changed me in the deepest places of my heart. In those two years, my testimony in Christ changed from, “I know Him,” to, “I KNOW Him; and I long to know Him more.” Jesus defined eternal life as such: “that they might come to know You, the One who is from the beginning, and the Son whom You have sent,” (John 17:3). As it turns out, the more I come to know God, the more I long to know Him. “As a deer pants for streams of water,” so I long for my God; “I thirst for God, the living God,” (Psalm 42:1-2). During those college years when my faith really began to take root, I learned that knowing God intimately is both the present responsibility and the eternal reward of those who humbly seek Him.
Admittedly, I am so far from what I should be. But through the blood of Jesus Christ, my daily failures are scandalously overcome by the extravagant love of my Heavenly Father. Even as a pastor now, my daily pursuit is also my daily prize: to know Him more. And as I contemplate the wonders of His great love for me and the depths of His mercy and grace, I long for the day when I will “know [Him] fully, as I am fully known,” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
#IKnowHim. Do you?
Dr. Tony Wolfe, Pastor
Antioch Baptist Church Lovelady, TX