If someone were to ask, “Do you know Preston Gillham?” what would you say?
“Why, sure I do. I read his blogs. In fact, I heard Pres speak at our church, and even had dinner with him while he was in town. I read his first novel last summer and have his second book nearly finished.
“I know Pres is an avid fly fisherman and that he has a barkless dog named Braxie whom he walks with every night. Yeah, I know Preston Gillham.”
But if someone were to ask my wife, Dianne, “Do you know Preston Gillham?” a distinction would become apparent. Other people know about me, but Dianne knows me.
While others hear about the fish I caught, Dianne understands why I go fishing. Others read the articles I write, but Dianne lives with me as I sort through the experience of the article and then labor to express my heart.
Dianne shares my dreams, dances with me when they come true, and laces her arm through mine reassuringly when they fail to materialize. She laughs when I laugh, cries when I am sad, and is silent during my solitude.
Dianne knows how I like my coffee, where my favorite haunts are, which pocketknife is my favorite, and where my keepsake box is kept. She knows which shirt is my favorite and which pair of boots fits me best.
Dianne is not only acquainted with me. She knows me, understands what drives my soul, and steps to meet me in the inner recesses of my heart.
What if someone asked, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” What would you say?
“Sure. I know Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, the dividing line between BC and AD, the King of kings. He changed water into wine, healed people, fulfilled 300 or more prophecies with His birth—which was by a virgin—walked on the water, hung out with potentates and prostitutes, and changed the course of the world with His life and message, which He left in the care of twelve disciples, one of which was a loser. Yeah, I know about Jesus.”
But while all of the above is true of Jesus, it is only biographical information about Him. The question was, “Do you know Jesus Christ?”
Do you know what makes Him tick, or what is on His mind? Where does He hang out? What does He love, and what does He hate? Is there anything that is especially special to Him? Where does He live, and what makes that place home?
Paul writes that his “determined purpose is to know Christ” (Phil. 3:10, Amp.). He goes on to say that he wants to understand the power Christ has, to fellowship with Him as a friend, and to share His sufferings. This goes beyond information. Paul is saying he is determined to be an integral part of Jesus’ life.
While it is hard to get to know some folks, such is not the case with Jesus. He invites us into His heart, asks us to share His life, and promises never to leave us and always to join us. True, there were a few occasions when Christ retreated by Himself to the wilderness, but more often than not, He asked others to join Him: “Watch with Me.” “Pray with Me for awhile.” “Follow me.” “Come to Me.” “Bring Me your burdens.” “Dine with Me.” “Understand this about Me.”
To know Christ: that is a destiny worthy of our determined pursuit. There is no aspiration greater. I’m not talking about being informed about Him, but truly knowing Him.
As for me, it is not enough to be informed about Christ. I want to know Him, and I believe this is your desire as well.