Once upon a time in a faraway season of life filled with children, homeschooling, church activities and Junior Camp I was involved in a small Bible study taught by a woman who was Titus 2:4 in the flesh. One day, in a more private conversation, she asked what I prayed for myself, what my spiritual goals were on a personal level, not as a wife or mother or Pioneer Club leader. I told her that there were verses from Philippians that had recently been my prayer: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” She told me to be careful how I prayed.
Three months later, on Elisa’s fourth birthday, I received a cancer diagnosis that gave me a 50 percent chance of living to see her fifth birthday. Clearly that was an answer to my prayer as I needed to know Christ and trust Him in a way I had never trusted Him before. And in that He taught me and loved me, and invited me over and over to know Him more… not just know more about Him, but to know Him more deeply. Time and again in our lives, Jesus invites us to know Him intimately even as He knows us.
Psalm 51 in today’s readings reveals how deeply God knows us, and what the psalmist knows of God, the one who knows our sin and still loves us and saves us by His grace. This is how we first know Christ, as Savior. We know Him as our righteousness, our hope. But we cannot stop there. We need to press on in our walk day by day and know Him fully so that we may be transformed into His image. We need to learn to call Him by name through the ups and downs of life as we experience Him as our peace, as our provider, as our strength, our present Lord, our sanctifier. In knowing Him we can share in His resurrection power and share in the suffering that continually refines us and draws us into deeper relationship with Him.
How is it that we know Christ today? Do we know the fellowship of sharing in His suffering? Do we know Him as the Coming King? Do we know His victory? Or perhaps you once proclaimed Him the Christ, the Son of God, and now. like Peter, say, “I don’t know Him.” Do we know Him at camp and forget Him when we are home? Or are we pressing on in knowing Him, press on in understanding who He is, in trusting Him to always be who He says He is, and do what He says He will do? Jesus longs for us to know Him intimately and will faithfully teach us who He is as we give ourselves to Him and seek to know Him even as we are known.