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YOUR KIND OF KNOWING
"You'll protest; 'But we've known you all our lives!' only to be interrupted with this abrupt, 'Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing. You don't know the first thing about me.'" Luke 13:26,27 (The Message).
Jesus defined eternal life in this way: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3(NIV).
There are at least three ideas in the word 'know'. We can know about someone by having a nodding acquaintance with him; we can know a person by spending time with him and getting to know his nature and personality; we can know someone by living in an intimate union with him and reproducing through that union.
The 'knowing' of the people to which Jesus was referring belonged to the first group. They lived in Jesus' 'neighbourhood' implying that they knew He was around and perhaps even took an interest in what He was doing but never became personally involved with Him or comitted to Him in any kind of personal relationship.
These are the people who say they 'believe' in God, but that belief is the same as saying, 'I believe in the sea, or the sky, or the stars.' Sure, these things are there, but they make no difference to their lives (unless of course they are foolish enough to believe that these 'things' can affect their lives in some mysterious way!). They might even tip their hats to God by going to church at Christmas and Easter.
The second group of people's 'believing' moves them a step further. They go to church every Sunday, sometimes read the Bible, seldom pray except in emergencies, and give money to the church when their conscience pricks (this is not an accusation but an observation). They know quite a lot about God. They have a working knowledge of His nature and ways but it is purely academic. They call themselves Christians, but when the chips are down, their behaviour resembles the rest of mankind rather than the Master they profess to 'know'.
Jesus' response to these two groups who protested at being shut out of the wedding banquet was shocking to them, 'You don't know the first thing about me.' Why did He talk like this? Not to shock but to awaken them from a false assumption before it was too late. When the verdict was given and the door was shut in their faces, it would be too late to do anything about it.
So what is the 'knowing' that gives us access into the eternal presence of God? There are two aspects to this knowing. The first is a personal, permanent and passionate commitment to Jesus Christ as Teacher and Master. This involves relinquishing all rights to ourselves and moving out of the control centre. Because He created us and bought us back from slavery to Satan, He has the right to be in the command centre of our lives.
This is not a coup de etat; it is both a relief and a delight because He takes over responsibility for guiding us unerringly to our destiny. He is always good. His love is non-negotiable and we are eternally safe in His care.
The second step to knowing Him is developing the intimacy with Him and becoming one with Him through His Word, fellowship (prayer), submission and obedience which transforms us into His likeness and issues in generosity of attitude and action towards all people. The more time we spend with Him, the more sensitive we become to the needs of those around us. God can then use us to show His love to them when we love, forgive, and give of our resources to bless them.
This is a lifetime commitment to knowing and growing like the God we worship.
And once again... The choice is yours...
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