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Making God More Real in Your Life
Jesus is having a Q&A session with His disciples. They have left their jobs, boat investments, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and all their life plans in order to follow the Lord. It has been about 3 years of this, and they think He is about to set up His earthly kingdom and they will rule with Him.
Jesus drops a bomb on them, stating that He is going to be killed, and will go to heaven. The Q&A begins.
Peter, bold and brash, asks the first question in 13:36 [read]
Jesus says, you can't go where I'm going right now, but you will later!
Thomas asks the next question in 14:5
He wants a map. Jesus says, just follow me. He doesn't point the way, He IS the way!
Philip is next [vv. 7-8]
"About the Father, we want to see Him too. Make Him more real to us if you are going to Him." Philip says, "If you'll show Him to us we will understand better and know Him better."
Philip's desire is a good one, though a little misguided. The desire of our hearts should be to know God better. We need to move from mere head knowledge to heart knowledge. [Just a closer walk with thee...]
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
"Know" is a keyword in John's gospel, used 141 times. Study them and you find 4 levels of 'knowing':
1. Knowing facts. [head knowledge]
2. Knowing the truth behind the facts. [deeper head knowledge]
3. Knowing the truth behind the facts, personally [heart knowledge]
4. Knowing the truth behind the facts, personally, and intimately [deepest heart knowledge]
Remember, the Bible calls intimacy between husband and wife 'having knowledge' of them. [Adam knew Eve and she conceived / Mary was a virgin in that she had not known a man]
The highest level of knowing is intimacy, and not just physical...it can be emotional intimacy and, most importantly, spiritual intimacy.
When I first met Kimberly, we started out at the first level...facts and stats like age, college major, hometown, and some of those introductory things you want to know like: Coke or Pepsi, Cubs or Cardinals, calves or cankles! It was at a verbal, superficial level.
The more we talked the more interested I became, and we went to the second level. I began to know the truth behind the facts as I learned more about the inner person, her upbringing, and why she thinks the way she thinks and feels the way she feels, and what is her worldview.
We became close friends and through courting, began pursuing a relationship. I liked her...big like! She liked me back, checking the box my friend passed her in class! In time, through developing a close, heart knowledge relationship, I knew I loved her. And through a lot of effort, many gifts, and much prayer, she was deceived into loving me back! We gained heart knowledge of one other that went beyond the facts and stats, and even beyond friendship. About 7 months later we were engaged, and married 10 months after that.
Now, if you consider each of those first 3 'knowledges' to be bases on a ball diamond, and if you remember that we have children, you can reasonably assume that eventually the blessed 3rd base coach waved me home! And for more than 20 years now we have been getting to know each other better, and we're still trying to know each other better, and yes, sometimes there's something you want to forget, and eventually you'll see something you'd like to 'unsee', but overall, it's a continual pursuit of deeper intimacy in all areas. [recently I asked my folks for a recent photo and dad said, we haven't taken pictures in years...matter of fact, we have got rid of all mirrors in the house, just to help remove all evidence!]
Eventually time takes it's toll on all of us, but the knowledge and closeness and intimacy should ever deepen.
When it comes to God, we begin with a set of facts about Him:
Once upon a time I learned that He created me, loved me even though I sin, was born of a virgin, died for me, and rose again, and wanted to save me. Over time I learned the 'why' about those facts. He made me for His glory, and to serve Him, and He loved me, in spite of MY nature, because of HIS nature. I learned why He had to be virgin born, why He chose to die, and what His resurrection meant for me. I believed and was born again. Head knowledge became heart knowledge. I was 6, and now for more than 30 years [just barely a little more!] I have been getting to know Him more intimately! Today He is more real to me than ever before, and I want tomorrow to break today's record!