For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
In recent week you have had the opportunity to attend a series of roundtable discussions called, “Growing in the Son.” These discussions have been guiding us as we discover, articulate, and live out God’s vision for us in real and practical ways. Through these discussions a phrase continued to surface, “Know, Grow, Go.” From that phrase “Know Jesus, Grow in Jesus, and Go with Jesus.” In the months ahead we will briefly look at each of these parts.
A basic building block of religion is knowledge. It is key to know what it is you believe and continue to learn all you can about your faith that you may then become a good or faithful practitioner. Without knowing, one has no proper point of reference from which to begin their journey and no understanding of the direction of that journey.
In a religion or faith system, there are things to know and learn about the founder of the faith, key leaders, and rules to ascribe to so that you may become faithful to your religion. While I know who George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln are, I do not actually know them. I know facts and details of their lives that I can read in history books but do not have a relationship with them.
Thankfully, Christianity is not a religious set of practices, but a relationship with Jesus who was God’s Son in flesh and bone. He is not just someone I read about from history but is alive today and I can have a relationship with him. A relationship changes how you know and respond. A relationship is alive and dynamic. A relationship is not what you know, but who you know. You may know your grandma’s address, dad’s place of work, mom’s birthday, or your child’s favorite toy, but that’s just the details and we know them differently because we have a relationship with each.
Paul writes here in Corinthians that he at first sees dimly (as if blinded), he knew things about Jesus but on the road to Damascus, he came to know Jesus personally. Paul never met Jesus physically face to face and looks forward to that day. Jesus first command was also an invitation, “come and follow me.” Knowledge without relationship is a very dim understanding that does not ultimately change us, it may change our opinions but not our lives.
Many will say they know Jesus when they mean they know about Jesus, that Jesus from history or the Bible. While knowing about Jesus isn’t bad it allows room for us to keep Jesus at a distance, like the distant past. Treating him as a guru to help get us through a tough time. Knowing about Jesus may allow us to use Jesus for our gains, purposes, or agendas.
Do you know his heart? His words are still there, “come and follow me.” Many will choose knowing stuff about, rather than knowing the Savior. Why? It’s safer, after all a relationship is about mutuality and giving. As we come to know someone personally and intimately, the danger is they may come to know us the same way. Some will fear that if Jesus truly knows them, he wouldn’t love them. Our scripture reminds us, that we can know fully even as we are already fully known by him. Jesus already knows you fully and loves you, will you come to know Jesus’s heart and not just details of his life?