“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:8 and 10 [italics mine]
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ and then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7: 22-23 [italics mine]
As I read these passages I can’t help but think, “Do I know You, Jesus?” I sit with my hands over my face pressing into the idea of really knowing Jesus. What does that mean?
I sit. I pray. I ask. I wait. I listen.
Then I start thinking: what does it mean to really know…well, anyone?
When I think of knowing someone, I automatically think of time. It takes a lot of time. I can get to know quite a bit about someone in one sitting. They can tell me about themselves—their interests, their favorite things, the things that make them angry, what they enjoy, and specific qualities or characteristics about their personality. I can walk away from that conversation thinking I know a lot about the person, but, really, only with time and through experience can I say I truly know them. I’ve learned that time reveals character. Only through countless encounters with someone, can I really test whether their actions prove or disprove their words. As I get to know someone, I begin to trust. Someone tells me about himself or herself, and through time, if what they’ve said confirms who they are, then I learn to trust them—and soon after, intimacy is formed.
I believe that for me, the same goes with Jesus.
I can read all about how faithful Jesus is. I can read about his grace, his peace, his loving-kindness, his comfort. I can believe he is trustworthy. I learn about him in his Word and automatically believe it—because well, He’s God.
But I believe it goes deeper than just reading about him.
Through time and specifically experience, I am able to see all of His attributes come to life. The marvelous thing about Jesus, which is unlike the flawed human race, is that time only CONFIRMS everything he says about himself. It’s perfect.
And because he is God, you can spend time and experience Jesus anywhere, at any moment. You can take him on walks, you can take him to work, you can spend time with him in your room, or when you’re watching the sunrise. He’s there in difficult moments—when you’re broken, alone or hurting. He’s there in joyful moments—amidst the laughter and celebration. You have the opportunity to spend time with him whenever you choose. As you invite Jesus along with you in life, you share experiences with him, and build intimacy and trust. You get to know him. You start to see that what he says in his word is true and most importantly, it’s personal.
You learn to hear his voice amidst the noise. You learn to depend on the stillness of his presence. You seek for moments where you can pour yourself out to him—alone and vulnerable. And when others are around, you invite him into your conversations—so you can get to know more about him through someone else’s perspective. He is infinite and abundant. There’s always more to know about him.
God made this idea of knowing him through experience very personal just last night. My grandfather has been pretty sick for a few months now. After countless hospital visits, sleepless nights and close calls, God decided to take his life late Thursday night. I had been mentally preparing for this moment, but of course, when it happened, I realized it’s a lot more painful than I could’ve expected. A dear friend of mine pointed me to 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Verse 5 sweetly says “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Of course I had been familiar with this verse, but it wasn’t until I experienced and suffered loss, that the words of this verse rested gently on my heart. Once again, Jesus confirmed what was written, and the God of all comfort comforted my soul…just like he said he would.
He desires intimacy which each of us—intimacy through experience. And boy, let me tell you…it’s an experience to be enjoyed.
Beloved, invite Jesus to be with you at every moment. Let him confirm everything you have read about him. Invite him to look at the stars with you. As you look at the stars, let your heart press into Psalm 148: 3 “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!” Talk to him. Let your requests be made known to him. And you will see, like in Philippians 4:7, that the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and your mind.
Get to know more about him. And then let him show you that everything he says about himself is true.