KNOWING THE LORD
"Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?"
This is a sad question that our Lord poses to one of His disciples. Could it be possible to be with Christ for three and a half years and yet not know Him? It is not only possible, it is the condition of most Christians today! In fact, the situation is actually worse. The Lord was only with Philip during those years. Now, He very definitely lives inside of us and we still don't know Him! Oh . . . we know a lot of things about him, like what He did while on earth and all the scripture verses. But is that the same as really knowing Him?
Deeply . . . intimately . . . knowing Him?
Paul said that he had suffered the loss of all things for the sake of knowing Christ. Paul put it on the line and paid the highest price to know Him. Is knowing the Lord that important to you? If so, then please listen to what I have to say, and may the spirit of revelation open your eyes.
I think we can all agree with the statement that knowing the Lord is extremely important. The question is: "HOW DO WE GET THERE?" Well, how do we know something...anything? The process of acquiring knowledge is what we call "learning". We learn in order to gain knowledge. Learning is the means while knowing is the end. If we want to know how to fly an airplane, we must take lessons, or learn. However...do we "learn" to know the Lord the same way that we learn to fly an airplane? Of course not!
Then what are the differences and how do we distinguish them? First, we must be clear on how we are made up.
Man was created with a spirit, a soul, and a body. The body is physical and helps us to do physical things and communicate with the external world. The soul is made up of the mind, emotions, and the will. The soul is used to understand and communicate with the physical realm. We have a mind in order to understand the things of this visible, physical universe. God created our minds to analyze and formulate concepts as they relate to the natural world.
The things of the spirit cannot be learned this same way!
God gave us a spirit for that. Unfortunately, most Christians are more strongly influenced by their environment then they are by their Lord. Yes, our culture and surroundings have much more power over us than we realize. In our society, we have the educational system which is our process of learning. If you want to learn, you must go to a building, sit in a classroom, listen to a teacher, study your subject, and pass the tests. Studying involves; reading books, analyzing subjects and topics, memorizing information and formulas, asking questions and taking notes from lectures. This is the way we learn. This system of learning is all we know! This is fine for learning subjects such as history or biology BUT IT JUST DOESN'T WORK FOR LEARNING SPIRITUAL THINGS!
But . . . here is the problem:
Jesus Christ is not a subject to be studied! He is a Person with Whom we need to become acquainted.
We have taken the methods of learning from the world system and brought them into the church to be used to learn Christ. We hear a sermon preached from the pulpit every week and forget what we heard two days later. (anything which is aimed at our heads will dissipate within a few days.) Even if we happen to have the ability to retain this information, we will just store it in our brains like the memory of a computer. It won't be life to us because it only penetrated our minds, not our spirits! "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit, is spirit."
I constantly hear believers say that they need more bible teaching in order to be filled. So they go to meetings to hear more teachings. They buy more books, tapes, videos, watch Christian TV, and listen to the radio. They fill their minds with all these teachings. Five years, ten years, twenty years go by and they are still listening to the "latest" teaching. Something is wrong here. All of this teaching has not satisfied their hunger. They have heard all the topics and memorized all the spiritual formulas and principles and still they are hungry! Why is this so?
It is because they are filling their minds with information. Teachings are not spiritual food!
Only Christ Himself is food. This food is for your spirit.
Now I believe in teaching, but only that teaching which presents Christ and how to know (experientially) Him. After that is presented, the believers need to experience the Lord for themselves and receive revelation of their own from the Lord. Jesus only preached about twenty messages which we have recorded in the New Testament. For the last two thousand years, we have had preachers explaining to us what He really meant by those twenty messages! Why can't we just read them for ourselves? Why can't we all receive revelation from the Holy Spirit and then teach one another like the first century believers? (see I Cor. 14:26; Heb. 5:12)
To those believers, knowing Christ meant to actually experience Him by direct contact, to participate in and partake of Him! We learn by plunging our spirits into Him and becoming one! This, my brothers and sisters, is a completely different way of learning!