Wednesday, 23 May 2012
If you were a celebrity, and I inquired to know your name, when I knew your name would I then know you? If I were to Google as a few facts in regards to your life style, would I know you then? If I were to read all about you, know when you were born, what culture you were raised in, and a few facts about your parents, then would I know you?
What if I knew your family tree by heart, or could quote sayings of yours by mere memory? What if I knew the hidden meaning of your words and parables? Would I know you? What if I could mind-baffle others with astonishing knowledge of you, would that prove that I knew you? If I could come up with intellectual sounding wordy books on the topic of you, would I indeed know you? If I joined a club of your fans and meet often in honor of you, would this then, mean that I knew you?
I believe that all that I have attempted to do in regards to you would be meaningless, because at the end of the day, I would have to come to the realization that I have never once touched you, and you have never once touched me. I would have to face the fact that, though my knowledge of you may indeed in some sense be great, I have never held a personal conversation with you. I would have to admit that, though I know your life somewhat intimately, knowledge doesn't link you and I in any kind of way. The fact would remain, that I don't know you, just know of you. Therefore, since I don't know you, it would be likely and acceptable to conclude that you, yourself as a person, don't know me either.
So we see now that I cannot correlate or substitute knowing you in a personal sense for mere head knowledge of you. We also see that I can admire you and honor you to some level, yet I can be completely disconnected from fellowship with you. Why? Because you have no idea who I am. I can be extremely engaged in knowing every aspect about you and discover those things in possibly a great way, yet not have a clue as to who you really are.
Brothers and sisters, I'm afraid that this relationship described above is too often found in most of church goers today in regards to the Lord Jesus. The evidence of this is a powerless and carnal passions-driven church. We, in all our intellect and knowledge, have surveyed the dimensions and scales of the well and made academic notations in regards to the color and the origins of its material as well as the history and profound implications of it all, and in all of this we have lost the true meaning of a well. Let me switch the article, if I may -- we have forgotten the true meaning of the well.
Lets look and consider Paul's letter to the Phillipians, chapter three:7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 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 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul's cry here is an intimate one. Out of all the things -- which in the previous verses he speaks about -- that he had acquired, all the education of his past and the honor on him as a true Hebrew, he completely dismisses to know the surpassing value of knowing Christ, knowing Jesus personally.
I find it beautiful when he says that he considers all that he had gained garbage, to gain Christ. Most people and even Christians would think it a loss to lose all they obtained for something that they didn't truly value. Then he says "...to be found in him," which reminds me of the "hide and seek" situation in Genesis chapter 3 after Adam eats of the fruit, however this time, hoping that he will find me not naked and ashamed, but find me clothed with himself, by the previsions made on the cross and empty tomb bridging the gap of God and man, through he victorious work of the son our King, received exclusively through faith.
We should cry with Paul and say, yes, I want to know Christ, not just merely facts and stats about him. I want to know him intimately -- that means in his most victorious moments and in the moments were he suffered, I want to go to my death wrestling to know this man who gave it all for a stranger, a man born God-hating yet he washed all my sins away.
We are not perfect -- not even close. However, we should say with Paul, "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."
He is ahead. He is our prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. The war cry of the saints isn't for more head knowledge, but for experiential knowledge of the Savior. Our cry is not for subjugating knowledge toward others that we may boast; our cry is to fix our eyes on the subject of life itself which is Jesus our Lord.
To know Him, we will live, and to know him we will die -- to know His voice, and to melt because of it. To know his touch, and become weak in the knees and pray for more. To see Him working in others and in the world as a whole. To talk with Him on our beds like David, and to awake and seek only Him like Moses. To run through the fields of our own hearts and in the joy of others in Him, and blow kisses to the one that causes our souls to dance. Because no longer is he a book, a tradition, a cool story, a moving moment -- He is ours. The pearl of heaven, the King of Kings, He is our personal friend and lover.
And we know Him, not merely of Him.
Do you feel like you really know Jesus, or do you just know of him? What steps can someone take to come to know Christ intimately, rather than just knowing of him?