Would you like to know more about Jesus, our personal Savior, and the Son of the Living God?
Knowing someone is hard. It's like studying a subject - the only way you can really learn is by being interested, paying attention, and coming at it from many different angles. There are even more ways to get to know a person than to study a subject. We can spend a lot of time with someone to get to know them better. We could also observe their way of living, listen to what others say about them, or if they are famous, we can even read books about them. Best of all, if the other party is willing to interact and respond to us, our knowledge of them deepens and continues to grow. Thus, the key to knowing a person does not lie in the method but in our willingness to initiate and respond with sincerity.
Most of us are busy and preoccupied with many academic activities and other obligations. There is so much going on that we can hardly find time to fulfill all the demands placed on us, and so, we may have put off knowing Jesus and saved it for Sunday morning or some other time. However, it should be our top priority to get to know Jesus - to develop an intimate personal relationship with Him. The truth is: knowing Jesus is not mutually exclusive with all our day to day activities and responsibilities, rather, it is foundational for our success! Just think. Have you ever wanted a study partner? Jesus is a great companion. Have you ever needed a good reminder, someone to cheer you up when you are down, someone to guide you when you are confused and lost? Jesus knows our strengths and weaknesses and never gives up on us. He knows our exact purpose in life and will lead us to that purpose if we humbly ask for His opinion. After all, He created the universe. Who could be better to consult than the origin of wisdom itself?
But how do we get to know Him? Isn't He up in heaven? How do we get to know someone when you can't see His face and feel His physical existence? First, we need to hold onto the truth that He desires to live in our heart and is closer to us than we think. We need to secure that truth by choosing to live in Him and obeying His commandments. Jesus said that "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him…If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (John 14:21, 23).
Jesus said if we choose to remain in Him, He will remain in us and we will bear much fruit (display a godly character) and this is to His Father's glory that we bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be His disciples (John 15:5, 8). A good portion of Jesus' prayer during His last hours on earth was devoted to His followers and the world. He prayed that they might know Him as the one sent from God (John 16:27, 28; 17:3, 7, 8, 21, 23, 25). In fact, Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3). Therefore, knowing Jesus is what eternal life is all about. Knowing Him is the inward effort of keeping Him alive in you, to keep drinking the water that Jesus offers so that it will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).
That brings us to the second point of knowing Jesus: how do we remain in Him or keep Him alive in us? We do so by spending time at His feet so that we know His commands and by including Him in all our activities so that we learn to follow His commands. It takes determination and creativity to spend time with Jesus. It doesn't have to be lengthy. The key is to spend quality time alone with God in which you give Him your undivided attention. Look at it as a conversation with Him. Read a short passage from the Bible and end with prayer. Write down some key words from the passage or some key thoughts that the Holy Spirit lays on your heart, and then bring the paper around with you for the entire day. Keep these words in your heart and review them whenever you have time: waiting in the cafeteria, going to the restroom, sitting on the bus, in between classes, brushing your teeth, etc. These words will gradually take root in your heart and integrate with your values, beliefs, deep thoughts and other knowledge. Whenever you need to make decisions, consult Him in prayer. Meditate on the words you have studied. Put Him first. Before long, you will have the power to make the right choice and do the right thing.
But don't forget that a friendship goes both ways! We cannot expect a friend to give and never take. Just like many other relationships, we need to stand up for Jesus and make sacrifices for Him. The Apostle Paul was a very intelligent man. He held a high place in his society and he knew all the laws (just like a lawyer or professor in our modern day). But after having met Jesus (you can read the story in Acts 9:1-19), he said, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." He continues to say, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Phil. 3:7-8, 10).
That is the kind of relationship we are seeking: a willingness to sacrifice everything and a desire to participate in suffering for the sake of our friend, Jesus—so that we might know Him and gain fellowship with Him. Paul was determined to follow Jesus and because of his perseverance and faithfulness, Paul knew Jesus well and wrote thirteen books that were included in the Bible! However, that knowledge was hard earned. Not only was he imprisoned multiple times, Paul was scorned and rejected by both Christians and non-Christians alike and he was even beaten to the point of death! However, in the end he still concluded that all of it was worth the cost and he passionately invites us to join him and follow his example.
One night a man had a dream. He was walking through a brook in the dark, and a voice said to him, "Pick up the stones at your feet." He questioned the voice, but the voice said to him, "Don't ask why, just do it. You will understand later." So the man bent over and groped in the dark for the stones. After picking up a few and storing them in his front pocket, he decided that the weight was too much, and he had gathered enough. In the morning when the man woke up, he took the stones out of his pockets. To his surprise, they were all rare and precious gems that he had never come across in his life. How he wished he had taken more!
Jesus is that precious gem! Although you might not realize it initially, once you get close to Jesus, His unsurpassing beauty will be without question and suddenly you will discover a willingness deep inside of you to trade everything that you have for Him (Matt. 13:44-46). But this life is short, and the time that we have to know Jesus intimately is already passing away. Will you choose to make knowing Jesus a priority? Don't wait any longer, begin the journey of knowing Him today!
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How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Psalm 139:17-18b. A biweekly revelation into the precious thoughts of God!
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