Knowing vs. Knowing About
It's maddeningly easy to spend a lot of time learning about God. He's left us his word. We have centuries worth of writing from people who followed him. We can go to church and hear all kinds of interesting facts about him.
And in all of that, we can come away not knowing him.
Christ adds some scary words at the end of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:21–23):
On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
These are clearly people who know of him. They participate in religious practices, consider themselves a part of a community. Yet Christ’s response will be that he did not know them (and the inverse is implied, they do not truly know him). How do we ensure we’re not in this camp of people?
He gives that answer in the preceding verse:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
That’s a clear, concise answer. But it then causes us to ask, “What is the Father’s will?” I’ve always loved Jesus’s answer to this in John 6. After telling the crowd to stop working for food that perishes, but rather to work for the food that remains to eternal life, the people ask, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?”
This is the deed God requires - to believe in the one whom he sent.
But this believing is more than an intellectual knowledge. After all, even demons believe in the existence and power of the son of God (Heb James 2:19). This believing is a recognition of our need for a saviour. In the passage in John 6, Christ goes on to claim to be the bread of God, and invites the people to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. There’s a lot of different ways to take that, but we can (hopefully) agree this invitation institutes an intimate relationship.
And that’s my point here. As we quickly approach Christmas, I want to make sure I’m making time to spend with my Lord. In one on one, intimate, personal conversation. Not to merely read my Bible, sing familiar, loved carols, or engage in the pageantry of the event. All good things.
But I want to make time for the best thing. Christ himself.&