Monday, January 3, 2022
Happy New Year! At this traditional time of resolutions designed to improve the quality of one’s life, I choose to resolve one thing that will bring the quality of life to its fulfillment – to know Jesus. I don’t mean know in the secular sense that I will just know about Him, but in the spiritual sense of knowing intimately, deeply, and completely. I want far more than just knowing what Jesus would do so that I can act appropriately; I want to know the wonder of Him living His life in me.
To illustrate the difference, look closely at this passage of Scripture from First John.
1 John 5:19-20 “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
The word “know” is used three times in these two verses. The first two times John uses the Greek word eido, which is translated as “to see, to perceive, to know the facts of something.” But when John speaks of knowing Jesus he uses the word ginosko, which means “to come to know intimately with feeling and understanding.” It is the same word that is used in the Jewish culture to describe the sexual union between a husband and wife.
I came to understand the difference in these two concepts in my early adult years when I was in business. When I was hired as an assistant manager at a retail clothing store, my goal was to become a manager. I quickly learned to learn from and then imitate the manager of the store. I knew that my best chance for advancement was to learn the policies of the company and to apply those policies in a way that was obviously working for someone else. It worked. Within 6 months I was promoted to manager of my own store. But I was not very successful at first, because I was trying to manage simply by applying what I knew about policies and procedures. I had lots of knowledge, but I had not yet gotten intimate with the company so that I could act out of love and respect. When I became more familiar with the philosophies and principles of the company, the policies and procedures ceased to be my motivation and I began to be successful because I was living out those same principles from my heart.
To some degree that is what we all want in our relationship with Jesus. For too long many have simply tried to learn the policies and procedures of Christianity and then work out their salvation based on that knowledge. Jesus has offered us an incomparable intimacy that motivates action based on attachment not attainment. It makes all the difference in the world. We can either know the rules or we can know the Ruler. We can be motivated to obedience by intimidation or by intimacy. The choice is totally ours. As for me, I choose to continue to grow by moving beyond knowing about Jesus to knowing Jesus intimately, with feeling and understanding. I want to experience the fullness of union with Him, and know the power of His resurrection life in me.
What is your choice?