Knowing Jesus-The Supreme Goal Of Every Christian
Do You Want To Be Filled To The Measure Of All The Fullness Of God?
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV) For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Stop and think about that. What would it look like for you to be filled with all the fullness of God? I think it would look like walking on the earth as Jesus did. Walking as Christ in power, in love, and in every aspect. Scripture doesn’t treat this as an impossibility. On the contrary, it is the goal!
What does it mean to know God’s love that surpasses knowledge? It is to not only receive his love, but to then become a participant in that love, a participant in God’s nature, to love like God loves, to feel what God feels.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NRSV) His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.
The Aim Of Salvation Is Knowing God!
John 17:3 (NIV) Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
When I was growing up and struggling with sin as a child and young teen, I was always so afraid that I would end up “trampling of Christ’s blood” and falling into “greasy grace” if I really received God’s grace and forgiveness freely. Now I understand that salvation is about so much more than just being forgiven. Salvation at its core is really about becoming a participant in God’s nature. It includes forgiveness and deliverance from wrath, but it is more than that. And it’s impossible to become a participant in God’s nature of love unless we first see God fully revealed in Christ and then receive his forgiveness.
Holiness is only possible if we fully receive forgiveness, but for so long I that I had to act holy in order to qualify for forgiveness. As long as guilt and condemnation is part of the equation, we will still live out of a sin identity instead out of a God identity. And this is why Jesus had to die for our sins. That old identity, along with all the guilt and shame, had to die so that we could know God. I know love because Jesus died for me when I was still a sinner!
Growing In The Knowledge Of God
2 Peter 3:18 (NIV) But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
There are so many aspects and facets of knowing God. But I remember when I went to a Global Awakening conference and saw hundreds of people healed. Then I started ministering to other people and seeing the same happen. I had read the Bible many times. But now I read through the gospels and wept, saying to myself “How could I have missed this! I missed the point of Jesus’s compassion. He healed everybody who came to him because he had compassion, not just to prove he was God.”
I had an assurance of salvation. I loved Jesus. But I felt like I had barely known him until now! The real thrill was about so much more than seeing miracles. It was about feeling what God feels. Feeling what Jesus felt. It was a about a love taking hold of my heart that was far beyond my natural ability to love, a love I could not understand but I could experience. I remember thinking “How is it possible for me to love like this?”
And when I prayed for people and sharing testimonies of healing became an obsession, it was never really about healing. I had found out “this is what God is like.” And I wanted people to experience God, to experience his love, as I had. Even when God healed my back as a child, yes, I was happy that my back was better. But the really important thing was that I had “felt God’s hand in my back.” I wanted to know him! This showed me that he was not distant, but near!
At times I’ve felt grieved when people didn’t “get it.” I’ve talked to people and they’ve responded with talk about “your spiritual gift” or “the power of faith.” Christians and non-Christians alike. To some, they had no clue that it was different than reiki, nothing to do with Jesus. Christians said, “Oh, healing is Jonathan’s thing.”
No. Healing isn’t my “thing.” My “thing” is that I want to feel God’s love gripping my heart, taking over all my life. I want to know Jesus, to feel what he feels. And I want people to know him. I remember once being overwhelmed by the sense that he was standing beside me and I could grab his hand. I’ve experienced enough that I usually can’t talk much about Jesus or about salvation without tears.
Philippians 3:7-15 (NIV) But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. I count it all as dung…for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
Whatever we have talked about on this blog, whether divine healing, supernatural provision, supernatural protection, signs and wonders, or anything else, the real point is all about knowing Jesus and growing in the knowledge of him. I feel like all of these topics become perverted if it’s not really, first and foremost, about knowing Jesus.
It takes courage to press into any of these things, because so many questions come up, disappointments, and more. But it is catching a glimpse of Jesus that gives us the courage to do so. And it is wanting to know him that enables us to go on and persevere through everything, to not get offended with God or fall into unbelief because, for example, “I’ve faced so many financial trials before so how can I believe God for provision?” Or “My friend died of cancer and I prayed, so how can I step out to minister healing again?” If it’s about knowing Jesus, these things don’t stop us. That’s the point of it all.
I’ve had to care for some old people and it’s been difficult at times, lots of work and sleep interruptions at 3 am. Poop and pee because of incontinence, craziness from dementia, having to lift Edgar and now my mother in law. And I believe in God’s will to heal old people just as much as everyone else. We’ve seen miracles among the elderly. Caring for an elderly person difficult, but it’s a joy when I remember that Jesus said “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” So when serving in any way, facing pressing circumstances, or anything else, it’s also about knowing Jesus and seeing him revealed through us.
I think of Mike and Deena Van’t Hul who left their good jobs and their rich and comfortable life in the United States to serve disabled orphans in China. They have seen many die and faced heartbreak. But they’ve also seen many miracles and many children raised from the dead. Many stories of lives of faith are similar…those who’ve experienced great miracles have faced heartbreak and discouragement. And it is only when it’s really about the all-consuming desire to know Jesus in the power of his resurrection and the participation in his sufferings, that we have the faith to growl back at it all and keep going!
I’ve known Christians to boast about their doctrine, their education, their connections, many things. But there is one thing that is important to me. I want to know Jesus and experience his love in the fullest way, through participation in it. That is heaven on earth.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NRSV) Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.
Daniel 11:32 (AMPC) …the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God].
Maybe it’s a good idea to get alone with God right now and pray “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you! I want to know you!”
In our next post, we’ll talk about a closely related topic-when we are looking for Jesus, we will have the discernment to receive him even when he comes to us humble and riding on a donkey!