21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” – Matthew 7:21-23 NLT, emphasis mine
29 “Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31 NLT, emphasis mine
I’ve thought about these words of Jesus a lot, and wondered about exactly what they mean and implicate. To know and be known is something we all long for! To be completely vulnerable yet loved within a relationship where trust abounds and we are free to be ourselves represents ultimate freedom! Words like these that Jesus spoke can be downright scary when first read, but they don’t have to be. This kind of intimate knowing IS attainable!
Truth be known, in today’s society where behavior and actions have become more valued than cultivating loving relationships, these words become absolutely critical! We live in a culture that laughs and cheers at videos of dogs that are taught to obey Harry Potter spells as commands, and TV shows that celebrate the dead over the living, not realizing that what appears innocent on the surface is actually the opening to a deadly gateway. Our children are growing up in an environment where their roots, history, family, and identity are systematically and forcefully being stripped away, imparting a state of division and confusion at every turn, and being replaced by meaningless nonsense. Anyone who dares to stand against such are called haters. Sex has become the number one form of sensual pleasure, taught from Kindergarten on up that we are spiritless animals and base pleasure is the absolute height to all there is in life. Worship of and reverence for superheros has become greater than worship of and reverence for God. Handouts trump hard work with no regard to future generations. And as parents and grandparents we often feel helpless or do nothing to push back the lines of darkness that swirls around our children.
This movement towards the universal religion where all paths lead to nirvana and all sin is acceptable and applauded in the sight of God is very deceiving. It teaches us to embrace what the world defines as “good” instead of how God sees it. We tirelessly serve and give and participate in multiple activities all under the guise of God and even Christianity. The “cause” we support has become more important than the Creator, and so opportunities to really know Him are often bypassed for what is believed to be more pressing, more relevant. God Himself feels distant to us, and these activities feel good, often bring immediate praise of those who surround us; but what are we giving up in the process?
We have been taught that “sin” is a bad word. Especially here in America where the latest fad is often celebrated, we defy holiness and have been taught that embracing sin is simply part of expressing who we are as individuals. The truth is, we were never taught to see sin as anything that prevents us from being who we have been created to be! Sin is anything that separates me from God Himself, and keeps me from experiencing all that He has for me. Sin is what keeps me from knowing Him in all His beauty, from walking in power and victory over darkness and oppression, from experiencing the thrill of unadulterated love in its purest form – which is the true height of both physical and spiritual pleasure! Sin is anything that hinders God’s love from touching me and affects all those around me that I love, often preventing them from experiencing God as well. Ultimately, sin is what separates me from God – who is love and light and everything good – for all eternity.
Recognizing that God is GOD in all His sovereignty, meaning He has all power and authority, is only the first step in really knowing Him. Author A.W. Tozer once said “To have found God and yet still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love”. It is much easier for us to actively “serve” God and/or “serve the greater good” than for us to actively pursue Him in relationship. To speak with Him, and read scripture not just to study but to spark a conversation with Him, to listen to His words and get to know His voice is beyond amazing and well worth the pursuit! Jesus says “Come to Me”. That’s it. Yet we so often don’t, and in the process fail to realize that HE is a PERSON, a KING, a FRIEND, COMFORTER, and LOVER of our souls. He PERSONALLY is the key to pushing back the lines of darkness around our children, to reclaiming our society, culture, and government. He is the breath in our lungs, and prayer is simply a form of breathing.
Do you know Him? Do you really know Him? Perhaps the better question to ask is, does He know you? He actually knows you better than you know yourself so it is not a question of that. The question is, do you have that personal one on one relationship with the God of this universe? Does He know you as HIS? He is there, and He is waiting, waiting for you.