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Does He know you?

Interesting question, no doubt. One worth pondering for sure.

There is a potentially puzzling scripture in the book of Matthew (chapter 7, verses 21 - 23) in which Jesus says the following:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' "

Ouch.... What a hard word. It tends to "rattle my cage" a bit. Can you identify? Especially for those of us who DO things in Jesus' name, and desire to serve Him, this is a very poignant "word" indeed. The passage itself seems to be directed at "false prophets", those who supposedly were speaking FOR Jesus, or acting on His behalf, without His direction. I don't know many folks who would intentionally do that.... At the same time, I'd prefer to hear a hard word NOW when I have the time to actually "make His acquaintance", rather than later, when I truly DO see Him "face to face", only then to realize that I had "run the race in vain".

This scripture seems to imply that we could go around doing all the things we think God would want us to do, even doing those good works "in His name", and still "miss the mark". The crux of the matter, apparently, is DOES HE KNOW YOU? Interesting to note as well, that it is Jesus Who was implying that it will be He Who will personally allow or deny others entry into the kingdom, based on whether or not He KNOWS them.

Now that's puzzling. Of COURSE He knows me. He created me, didn't He? Does not Psalm 139 imply that He knows me COMPLETELY?

"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD." (Psalm 139: 1 - 4)

And isn't it more important that I "know the Lord" than that He know ME?

Being "known"

In recent years that word about "I never knew you" has taken on more significance in my life due to personal experience that might help shed some light.

Because I sing "in front of" people more and more often over the years, it has become increasingly clear what Jesus may have been "saying". On frequent occasions He had crowds of people surrounding Him, many who had heard of Him and curiously gathered around to hear His words. Others actually had close ongoing relationships with Him. Surely, being God, He "knew" them all in one sense (and only God IS able to know EVERYONE).

Ponder, if you will, the situation of Jesus, or anyone who is routinely "up in front" of others....

Periodically, someone will come up to me and will begin talking as if they "know" me, assuming that I know them as well. Perhaps they've heard me sing, or have read the website, etc. Possibly I've even met them in the past, but have forgotten (me, FORGET? Never! ... :) Well, maybe sometimes.... The point is that I am not capable of knowing EVERYONE. Only God CAN do that. So whether or not I know you doesn't matter in the long run. But it DOES matter whether He "knows" you.

We can go through our lives learning all kinds of things about God. We can study the Bible. We can go to church. We can go to seminary or pour over the Internet, learning everything there is to know about Him. We can do all kinds of things in His honor.

In a similar way, someone could easily "think" they "know" me (or a similar person) by learning all there is to know on the Internet, listen to my music, hear me speak, etc. They could start a foundation in my name. They could purchase my CD's and hand them out to all their friends, desiring to bless many hearts. In terms of RELATIONSHIP though, none of that would matter. They could know all they wanted ABOUT me, but until I actually knew THEM, we wouldn't truly have a relationship. Although the "good" they would do might be honorable and a blessing to others (or even to ME, if I knew it), I still would not "know" them until our personal paths crossed in some way.

I wouldn't have the inclination or desire to share more intimate things with them. I wouldn't be able to ask them to do me a favor. They would have no way of knowing what TRULY would bless me, or what I wanted them to do for me.

His searching heart

Thankfully, it's quite clear in scripture that God WANTS to know us. Ever since the heart of God "called to the man, 'Where are you?' " (Genesis 3: 9b), He has been seeking to have that relationship restored. Thankfully, the Bible says: "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." (2 Chronicles 16: 9a)

Sometimes we're more contented to keep Him at arm's length though. We'd rather maintain control over our lives and "call the shots". We aren't exactly ready and willing to take the time to actually LISTEN to His intimate call, to find out what favor we can do for Him, where HIS heart is beating, where He desires us to go for Him.

His will

The "I never knew you" passage begins (in Matthew 7: 15) with a section in which Jesus advises His followers to "watch out for false prophets..." He proceeds to describe those who appear to be the "real thing", but their "bad fruit" makes them known for what they truly are. His "true" friends, those whom He KNOWS, are those who do "the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Verse 21b)

And what is His will? Well, if you find the answer to that one, please let me know.... Better yet, perhaps it would be more effective for me to simply GO and ASK Him.... One thing's clear, His will is that we "know and be known by" Him.... That He be more to us than simply Someone we read about in the Bible, some other book or on the Internet.... That our lives be profoundly changed by the impact of being known by Someone Who knows us better than we'll ever know ourselves ... by Someone who LOVES us more than we'll ever love ourselves.

So ... does He?

Does He know you? If He were passing by on the street and saw you walking by, would He recognize your face or voice and stop to have a word with you ... maybe take you out for a bite to eat? If He were browsing through His Book of Life would yours be one of the names He had written there? If He caught a glimpse of you interacting kindly with another hurting soul in need, would a contented smile gradually brighten His countenance?

Since Jesus has got such an "in" with the Father (having never sinned and all, you know?), is it possible that the Father has given Him the right to allow any of His friends in to the great "banquet"? When you come to the door, will He recognize you and tell His Father, "it's OK, I know him/her"?

If you're not sure of the answer to those questions, maybe right now would be a great time to go to Him and ask Him. Introduce yourself if need be. Surely He will have seen you coming anyway....

Oh, dear Lord, by Your grace, may we have the inclination and desire to let you know us.... And by the way, thanks for WANTING to know us in the first place....


Lisa Prokopowitz

P.S.--If you would like to find out more about having a relationship with Jesus, please visit Loving Grace Ministries' "salvation prayer".

October 12, 2009

***Addendum: See the "Manna Blog" (October 13) for a brief addendum to this word.

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