I have been podcasting a LOT lately. Like once or twice a day.
I have no variety in these podcasts, either.
They are always the same two pastors. One yells a lot and the other talks too quickly for his own good.
Regardless, I am digging 2015 and the ability to experience God’s Word often and in a different way than I would have been able to 10 years ago. I wonder where we will be 10 years from now?
Anyways, I try to take our black lab, Blue, for a walk every day, usually in the morning. He has gotten better at not walking me, and has declared his dominion on almost all of the block that we wander.
This morning fell into the norm. Praying with Brady as he kisses me goodbye before he leaves for work. Rolling over and pretending to fall back to sleep. Finally sitting up (which Blue takes as a summoning to also get up and stretch it out), throwing on a jacket/flannel, jeans and some shoes and emerging into the morning coolness for our 1.5 mile walk.
This morning, I stuffed one earbud into my ear canal and began to take in a message by the pastor that yells a lot. (My current favorite. Apparently, talking at very loud and passionate levels is what I relate with best).
And this morning, as I walked with Blue, Judah Smith’s voice and God, I was hit with this question:
How did I learn Jesus?
Do I know of Him… like I know Columbus or CS Lewis or some ancient Greek figure that I studied in World Civ 1? Do I know of Him like I know of my best friend’s roommate from Arizona that I never met? Do I know of Him like I know of some long lost relative from the early 1900’s?
Or do I know Him?
How did I learn Jesus? When was my first encounter? What was it like? How did that shape my thoughts of Him now?
I joke that I was born in the church. My mom was the daughter of a youth pastor, my father grew up attending church and youth group weekly. They brought (sometimes drug) my siblings and self to church regularly. So regularly, in fact, that I don’t remember many Sunday’s without hugs and smiles from church family.
Yes, I’ve grown up in the church… I’ve known of Jesus for a long time and I definitely now know Him personally, but when did that happen?
And do I really recognize the difference?
If I know Jesus… shouldn’t that make me more loving, more compassionate, more peaceful and joyful? Shouldn’t knowing Jesus change my thoughts and actions? Shouldn’t knowing Him have a cause and effect on the control center of my very being?
Shouldn’t it still me, hold me close, help me to understand and know what it means that He loves me obsessively?
I think sometimes (more often than not probably) I only let myself know OF Jesus.
Knowing of Jesus is a lot easier for a person than actually knowing Him.
Because knowing of Jesus is a self-improvement plan… it gives me a scale to measure people on… it allows me to love through the lens of judgment and pity. It allows me to earn my way to the pearly gates and hear God slow clap it out for me as He stands obviously flabbergasted at how holy I am for doing all of the right things.
Really, knowing of Jesus is ultimately the most exhausting and ugly way to do life. And the worst part about it is it puts Jesus in a light of stale, boring, religious leader.
Knowing Jesus, however, is horrifyingly amazing. Knowing Jesus brings meaning into life on a level I don’t think it is able to be described in words (at least not in the English language). Knowing Jesus fills you and satisfies you. Knowing Jesus opens your mind and your eyes to things you never thought you could understand or see.
Knowing Jesus allows you to hang out with the most engaging and loving Being in existence…. And not just be with Him, but to experience that He loves you on a level that your brain just doesn’t get.
But knowing Jesus is a lot more difficult than knowing of Him because it leaves you in a place of just being… just abide in Him. Just remain right by His side. Just know that He loves you. Just stay in that.
Don’t look at others, don’t try to do things to impress, don’t earn grace, don’t do anything other than remain in the love of Christ so that you “may be rooted and grounded in love”… healthy, able, stable.
Knowing Jesus is wildly more wonderful…but it’s a lot more risky than knowing OF Him… when you know Jesus, He takes over… you begin praying for others in situations that make you uncomfortable, you begin giving up your money in order to bless others, you go to places that don’t make sense all because Jesus asks you to.
Jesus isn’t safe. But He’s so good.
So, do you know of Him?
Or do you know Him?
Another way to ask: are you searching, wanting and feeling lack constantly even in all of your churching? Or do you find yourself often refreshed, often engaged, often at peace within a relationship?
Think about it.