Jesus wants followers who live beyond a set of beliefs.
He wants followers who know him. He says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”
When I know someone, I know what their interests are and what they are prone to do and be excited about. One of the most hurtful things you can say in a relationship is, “You don’t even know me.” Also, one of the most hurtful things you can do in a relationship is to act in ways that demonstrate ignorance of the other person’s needs or preferences.
We value relationships where it is apparent that the other person really sees us and understands us. We have to get to the point in our journey with Christ that we know his heart, his desires, and his will.
Knowledge is deeper than belief. I can believe that Jesus was an actual person and performed miracles and is the son of God and rose from the dead and not really know him. I know him when I can speak to his character and presence based on thought, prayer, study, and experience. I know him when I can sense his pull into a way to live and a transformed heart.
I remember a time when I was crying out to Jesus and letting him hear all of the things that I was hurting over and grieving over. When I was finally finished there were a few moments of silence and then I heard Jesus say, ‘It hurts me too.” That moment was so profound for me. That gave me knowledge that Jesus listens to me, joins me in my hurt, and comforts me at my lowest moments. I didn’t just believe that I could trust Jesus but I started to know that I could.
What you believe about God is vastly important, make no mistake, but if you are not adding on knowledge to that belief then you are not Growing Up. We begin to know God by abiding in his word and putting what he said into practice and seeing what it does for our lives. God can be known if we are willing to envision the extent of that knowledge and decide that we want to know God more. Then, we find the means of Growing Up in that knowledge through prayer, study, worship, silence, etc.
God wants to be known but we must move beyond belief.