by Shawn Welch
If I were to ask you, “Who do you know?”, what people would you list? Would you talk about family, friends, or just mere acquaintances? As we go down our list, we begin to realize that there are different levels of knowing people. For some people, we just know their name and maybe a few facts about them. But others, like friends and family, we could talk to for hours because we know who they are. We could share their joys, sorrows, and even embarrassing moments. Why do we know these people better than others? The reason is that we have shared life with them. Either they or we have continued to pursue and seek out a relationship after the initial interaction. As a result, we have had experiences that created memories and in the process of doing life with them, we have grown to know them more.
When describing his life, Paul makes a very bold statement in Philippians 3:8. He says, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Basically Paul says that he would give up everything just to know Jesus. If I’m honest, I do not know if I could say that. Sure I could say that phrase with my mouth, but do I truly believe that the greatest goal of my life is to know Jesus and then live it out? If this knowledge that Paul talks about is so great, then it must go beyond knowing mere facts about Jesus. There must be something deeper.
One of the definitions for the word “know” in scripture is “to become acquainted with”. Do you see the similarity between your friendships and our relationship with Christ? To become acquainted with someone, or to know them, is not a one-time occurrence. It takes time and effort. This knowledge is not just head knowledge–it’s experiential, which then leads to application. For example, we love others because we know and have experienced the love of Christ for ourselves.
When I think about the concept of knowing Christ, it is similar to marriage. Before I married my wife Robyn, I knew her. After getting married, I haven’t stopped getting to know her. If I had, I would be a horrible husband. Instead, I continue to pursue her. And here’s the crazy thing: as I continue to get to know her and experience life with her, I am more and more impressed with her. My love for her has grown tremendously since the day we first got married. So what happened? Did I not love her or was I not impressed with her before marriage? Of course not! I loved her deeply and was so impressed with her that I decided to marry her. What has happened since our wedding day is that as I continue getting to know my awesome wife through marriage, I realize she is more awesome than I ever could imagine!
Our relationship with Christ is a lot like a marriage. We understand what Christ did for us on the cross and we want to have a relationship with Him. After we enter into a relationship with Him (salvation), we are supposed to grow in our knowledge of Him. As this happens, we realize that the life He has for us is more awesome than anything we could’ve originally imagined. The problem is that, for a lot of us, we don’t continue pursuing Christ after salvation. Or the knowledge we do have is mere facts and we are not experiencing Him daily.
So this summer at the Timbers we are going to look at what it means to truly know Christ and experience the unbelievable life He has for us. We are going to do this through looking at three aspects of “know”: know God, know me, and be known.
Do you merely know of God or do you know Him personally? How can we grow in our knowledge of Christ?
Posted Apr 12, 2013