I could know all the answers “about” someone based on reading the opinions/ perspectives of others but never actually “know the person”.
It is the same with God.
Seek to know “about” God, but you cannot stop there — knowing the common answers and rebuttals and opinions and assumptions about God are not the finish line. Seek to KNOW GOD — not just intellectually, not just logically, not just superficially, and not just religiously — but personally, intimately, closely.
To KNOW SOMEONE brings along through the RELATIONSHIP an ability to be so closely familiar with who they are — to be a friend who knows them like they know themselves — so much so that you could even recognize opinions and assumptions and statements made by others that you can recognize quickly that are “accurate” or that “just don’t fit” the character and person of your FRIEND.
Jesus Christ is not some dead, silent, historical figure that you are to “read about” and “emulate” and “grasp intellectually”.
He is alive, He speaks, He heals, He leads, He teaches, He touches, He comforts, He corrects, He is a FRIEND to those who will be friends with Him. In fact, He is closer than a friend.
Child of God, you won’t just “read about” Jesus, but you will read and pray and speak with Him and He will speak with you because He gives your ears to hear and eyes to see where you were once blind and dead to the things of God. Does that sound a bit illogical, crazy, scary, like something beyond what you can explain? Yes, that is what we are talking about — an Almighty, Supernatural, “His ways are higher than your ways” God.
Child of God, you won’t have to strive to “emulate” his teachings and actions, but He will come live in you and through you, guiding you in the way, changing your heart’s desires to be aligned with His will, bringing you through the trials in ways that don’t destroy you but stretch you and grow you and mold you into an outward demonstration of who He is within you.
Child of God, you won’t have to “grasp intellectually” all of the intricacies of man’s religion and tradition and ceremonies and laws, because He will put the words in your mouth to answer the religious, and He will establish your steps to live out the love of God that is the worship God actually accepts and that fulfills the law.
We see this difference clarified when Jesus speaks to the outwardly religious but inwardly dead in John 5:
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. “Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.
John 5:39-42 NLT
And the prophet Amos speaks of in the old testament:
What sorrow awaits you who say, “If only the day of the Lord were here!” You have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will bring darkness, not light. In that day you will be like a man who runs from a lion— only to meet a bear. Escaping from the bear, he leans his hand against a wall in his house— and he’s bitten by a snake. Yes, the day of the Lord will be dark and hopeless, without a ray of joy or hope. “I hate all your show and pretense— the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.
Amos 5:18-24 NLT
Do you know the parable of the ten virgins? Do you have oil for your lamp?
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 25:1-13 NLT
Do you have the oil?
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
John 3:3-8 NLT
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.
John 14:23-29 NLT
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:19-26 NLT
Have you contemplated the consequences of dead religion:
“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. 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.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
Have you realized the significance of true, saving faith that is Christ in you?
“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. 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.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
Matthew 7:21-29 NLT
You who ask, “What do I do? What can I say? How can I respond?”
I tell you, “Repent and believe!”
That means, turn away from your old waysand turn to Christ!
Take joy in the fact that you have heard the call, that you have heard the Truth, that you have seen the Way, that you have encountered the Christ today.
Ask Him to forgive you, to change you, to save you from yourself, to come and be your Teacher. Seek Him out in The Word of God, speak to Him in prayer andask Him to write His Word and His willupon your heart. Go out and tell the world of what He has done for you today, and seek others who can’t help but tell of His mercy and live and kindness as well. Learn to know Him and to know The Way, and don’t depart from it, but if you stumble, come back to Him, because He is faithful to forgive.
‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’
Numbers 6:24-26 NLT