Have you ever said this to someone, “I’ve heard so much about you I feel like I know you!”?
Have you ever assumed you were friends with someone because you have known them for a long time? Maybe you’ve worked with someone for 10 years. You see them every day; you chit-chat, talk about the weather, complain about work, tell each other jokes, and have a good time around them. Then you find out that they had a party and you weren’t invited. You’re hurt and you ask why. They say, “I wasn’t sure you’d want to come, we don’t even really know each other.” You are surprised by that because you thought you were friends. After all, you’ve known each other for 10 years! But that comment made you think. How well do I know that person? Have I ever talked with that person outside of work? Have I ever talked about anything personal with them? Have I ever gone to them when I needed help, or have I asked that person if there was anything that I could do to help them? Do I know their interests, likes, dislikes? You realize that the answers to these questions are no and you don’t really know this person. You aren’t really friends; you’re more of an acquaintance.
For many of us, our relationship with Jesus is like that. We go to church every week and listen to the sermons about Jesus. We listen to teaching programs, go to bible studies and hear about Jesus. Over time we can develop that false sense that we actually know Jesus because we’ve heard so many others talk about Him! But do we really know Him? Or is He more of an acquaintance? To determine if we really know Jesus, ask ourselves these questions. How much time to I spend with Him outside of church? What is my prayer life like? Are my prayers always about seeking things for myself? Do I seek His will, and ask what I can do for others, and then take time to listen? Do I know what He expects of me? Do I know what He likes and dislikes and do I make them my likes and dislikes? Am I willing to make changes in my life so that I can get to know Him better?
How we answer these questions are going to determine the depth of our relationship with Jesus. Developing a relationship is hard work. Anyone who is married will tell you that. But they will also tell you that the benefits are well worth the effort.
We may not want to read our bibles because we think it’s boring, we don’t have time, we don’t understand it, or reading’s not our thing. But if we don’t, we cannot have a relationship with Jesus. We may not want to go to church because we have better things to do or we want to sleep in, but if we don’t, we’ll miss out on the blessings of worshipping God and having our faith strengthened and encouraged by fellow believers. We may not want to live a life according to the Bible because we think that doing so will take away our fun or we’ll be perceived as fanatics, but if we don’t, we will continue to struggle with sin affecting our relationship with Jesus. The Bible was given to us so that we may experience life to the fullest and get to know our Savior on a personal level.
For many years I avoided reading my bible, mostly for the reasons I mentioned above. I didn’t think I needed to because I knew Jesus. I believed in Him. I went to church and Bible studies. But I was in the category of acquaintance. I didn’t know Jesus. I believed in Jesus. But, the bible says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19) It’s not enough to believe in Him, you have to believe Him. To believe Him is to know Him, to know Him is to follow His commands. The bible says, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3-4). Now that’s pretty harsh. Why so harsh? Because the consequences for not knowing Jesus are severe…..and eternal. It’s not a relationship that you want to take lightly. Reading the bible is the way we get to know Jesus and can begin our relationship with Him. God knows that some of the things that He asks us to do aren’t going to be easy and He has promised that He will help us through it. I have found that once I made the commitment to read the bible every day, the easier it became. I didn’t want to do it at first, but God honored my commitment by not only helping me do it, but I now actually have the desire to do so. And I’m no longer content with just reading it, I want to study it and know how to apply it to my life.
“I’ve heard so much about You I feel like I know You” no longer applies to my relationship with Jesus because I’ve made the effort to get to KNOW Jesus and it’s an effort that is well worth the benefits! It will be for you too!