Paul told the church in Philippi that nothing was more important to him than knowing Christ (Philippians 3).  God told Jeremiah that he would give people a “heart to know him” so that He could be their God and they could be his people (Jeremiah 24:6-8).  I led a retreat this past weekend and rediscovered 1 John 2:3, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.”  Is it really possible to know the God of the Universe?  The simple answer is “yes.”  And the reason I’m writing this blog is because I understand Paul’s words more clearly now, than I ever have before.  Knowing God has been the most important relationship in my life these past weeks. 

I’ve not been angry with God.  I know him and I know he loves me.  God would never harm me, I am his child.  I’ve not doubted God.  He has been present with me, spoken to my soul during late-night prayer times, and held me up when I had work to do.  God is more real now than He has ever been!  This world treats all of us the same, but God makes all the difference.

I’ve taught the Bible for a lot of years and I have studied the Scriptures.  I’ve been married to Jim for 32 years and I often refer to him as my “live in commentary.”  He is a seminary professor and I have been his student.  (Even though sometimes I didn’t remember signing up for the class!)   I know a lot about God, and that has been helpful during these recent days.  But knowing about God is not the same thing as knowing God.  J.I. Packer said, “A little knowledge of God is worth a lot more than a great deal of knowledge about him.”  What is the difference between knowing about God – and really knowing God?

Whitney Houston continues to be a leading news story.  I’ve learned a lot about her lately, but I didn’t know her.  I’ve read everything Francine Rivers has ever written.  I even had the privilege of meeting her once, but I don’t know her.  I have friends that I consider to be my brothers and sisters.  I know them and they know me. . .and those relationships have meant a great deal to me these past weeks.  How would you characterize your relationship to Jesus?  Have you heard stories about him, but never met him?  Have you met him, but never developed a relationship with him?  Or do you know him like you do a brother or best friend?  Take a minute to really consider those questions, and then answer honestly.  How well do you know Jesus?  Do you love Jesus so much that getting to know him is your high priority?  Paul told that Philippian church that he thought of everything else as “garbage” compared to knowing Jesus!  I would have to agree.

I wanted to write on this subject today because we need to be prepared for the ups and downs of life on this earth.  The time to get ready for the hard times is not when they arrive.  We don’t train for a marathon, the day of the marathon.  The time to get ready is now, because there is a race in your future and you need to be prepared.  The only explanation for why my family wasn’t knocked down by a cancer diagnosis, is that we know Jesus – and we trust him.  We would pray and Jesus would answer.  We would ask God questions and the Holy Spirit would remind us of verses we know – giving the answers we needed.  We asked God for his strength and He provided it. 

I want to tell everyone what Paul told the church.  There is NOTHING more important than knowing Christ.  You will strengthen your relationship with Jesus the same way you strengthen any other relationship.  Spend a LOT of time getting to know him.  If you are too busy to spend time with Jesus – you are too busy.  Paul would tell you to “throw out the garbage” in favor of God.  {source}
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{/source}Read the book he wrote to you, talk to him, walk with him and obey what he tells you to do.  That is how you grow in your knowledge and love for the Lord.  And this blog post may matter most to those of you who have gone to church for a long time.  Knowing about God is not knowing God.  Remember, no one knew more about God than those Pharisees – but they didn’t recognize him when he stood right in front of them! 

How well do you know Jesus?  Take a minute to listen to, and consider, one of my favorite songs, “To Know Him” by Casting Crowns.  And I pray you will spend the rest of your life getting to know the One who gave you everything, just so he could know you . . . forever.

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