In my relationship with Emily, I know her. I know her voice, her laugh, her style, and her smell. I know what she enjoys doing and what she can’t stand. I know when she doesn’t feel like talking and when she wants nothing more than to chit-chat. We’ve been married for almost 20 months, but I feel like I love her more and more and get to know her better and better.
In other words, our relationship continues to grow.
94% of Americans claim to believe in God or a universal being, but most everyone can agree that 94% of people aren’t living like Christians.
God is pretty clear about drawing some lines in the sand between those who know him and those who really KNOW him.
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul – Deuteronomy 4:29.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened – Matthew 7:7-8.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart – Jeremiah 29:13.
Here’s the deal: Some will KNOW God and some will just claim to know God. There is a line.
Here are two problems that people start to have (and that I have!) when I write or say there is a difference in faith.
1. Conservative (Reformed, Baptist, Calvinists) Christians can get very mean about who is in and who is out. One, this gives room to pride and judgment. Two, this gives the outside looking in view that US are more loved/valued than THEM. It dangerously leads to an US/THEM dichotomy that can keep (and has kept) many seeking believers away from church.
2. Liberal (Lutheran, Emergent-y peeps) Christians get so wishy-washy about faith, discipline, and obedience that they fail to challenge anyone to examine their lives. In the name of wanting to extend grace, faith becomes entirely personal and allows for zero room to challenge, rebuke, correct, and straighten the way people live.
There must be a middle ground.
Clearly, God acknowledges there are various levels of faith. Those who will genuinely search for him will find him, but those who take up space on a church pew every week without genuinely longing for God will NOT find him.
In Matthew 7, Jesus says some will even cry out Lord, Lord, and he will claim to not even know them! These are TOUGH words!
But at the same time, we need to be extremely careful to not draw lines in the sand at the wrong times with the wrong people. Meaning, I can’t draw the line in the sand for someone I hardly know or someone who is seeking. But I can draw the line in the sand (or at least point to it) to someone who claims Jesus’ name and claims to know God, but isn’t living like it.
Where is the middle ground?
I saw this best on Hosanna’s evaluation for speakers. “Did the speaker present truth and grace equally?”
That’s the key: Truth and Grace. Two sides of the same coin. You don’t have a coin without both sides. The message needs to consistently be a combination of truth and grace. Obviously, sometimes truth is painful, but necessary. Other times, grace is the primary refreshing drink our soul yearns for.
Finally, what does truly KNOWING God lead to?
Here are some examples…
* You begin to live for Christ and not for yourself.
* You live for His bride, the church, and seek to serve the body of His bride with all that you are.
* You long and yearn for justice in unjust situations.
* You experience grace and peace, not continual worry and fear.
* You are so emblazoned with his love that you share your faith wherever you go.
* Your words reflect David’s:
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding w your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you y as long as I live in your name I will a lift up my hands.” – Psalm 63:1-4.
In conclusion, I know this chapter spoke to me: Do I really know him? Do I really share him wherever I go? Does my soul thirst for him? Does my life terrifically display the glory of God? If even the demons believe in God, am I leading people to be any different than demons?
May you come to REALLY know him!