There's something sentimental about a new year. I don't know if it's the memories from the previous year or the expectations for a fresh, new one, but there is something exciting about New Year's Eve.
2014. What will the Lord do in the next twelve months?
At the beginning of each new year, I search the Scriptures and ask the Lord for a specific word or idea that He wants me to focus on in the next year. I've only done this for the past two years, but it's been so beautiful to see how He's used those words throughout that specific year. In 2012, it was His faithfulness. In 2013, it was His sufficiency.
This year, it is ginosko.
Ginosko is a Greek word in Scripture that means "to know." There are several other forms of the word "knowledge", but ginosko is the deepest, the most intimate. It is more than a simple head knowledge or mental assent; it is an experiential knowing of something or someone.
About a month ago, I did a study for the word "know" throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were given the privilege to know about God and to know that He was Lord. To a select few, it was given the greater privilege of actually knowing Him personally. When I reached the New Testament, there was a change. Instead of just knowing about God, Jesus claimed to "ginosko" Him. He then promised that each and every one of His followers would ginosko Him as well.
There's a huge difference between the two. To give an example, it's like knowing about my future husband and then actually knowing who he is. If I just know about him, I can have an understanding that he'll be a man of God, pray that he would be surrendered to the Lord, and look forward to someday meeting him. But once I meet my husband and know him, I can do the things I only dreamed about before: spending time with him, observing his love for the Lord, and together surrendering ourselves to Him. There's an incredible difference between the two, isn't there? One is theoretical possibility, the other is experiential fact.
The Lord has been challenging my "knowledge" of Him recently. How often have I been content to know about Him, to learn about His holiness, His majesty, His grace, His love? Yes, knowing about Him is the first step to knowing Him. But how often have I stopped there? How often do I truly seek Him, with the goal of finding and knowing Him intimately? Do I pray for Him with the passion that Hannah did, "Give me a child, or I die," or am I content to linger through life with the knowledge I have of Him right now?
For, as I've searched through Scripture, I've learned that knowing Him personally is the prerequisite to following Him, obeying Him, and loving Him. When we know this God intimately, no act of obedience will be a sacrifice. Every step after Him, no matter if it's through the rolling hills or sunken valleys, will be mere joy..because we get Him!
Jesus. Is He worth everything to you?
It's like the illustration I gave earlier. If you told me that I was supposed to go around and tell everyone about my future husband and how great he was, I would have a real difficult time. Yes, I'm sure my husband will be wonderful, but why would I tell everyone about him? I don't have anything to base my words off of. I don't know him yet.
In the same way, when we come across commands in Scripture like "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations" or "Take up your cross daily and follow me," they seem burdensome and oppressive...unless we know Him. We could obey, but it wouldn't come from a joy-filled love of Him. It would simply be a duty.
"...I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.." (Philippians 3:8-10) Paul had caught a glimpse of the Treasure of Christ; He was willing to lose everything so that He might know and gain Him!
As I look back at 2013, I'm ashamed at the times when I allowed obedience to be a duty, because I was too lazy to pursue Him. Lazy to pursue Him?! Think of it! We have been given the gift of knowing and loving Jesus, the Lord and Ruler of the Universe! How could I ever grow tired of that?
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
May we press on to ginosko Him this year, friends! May we not grow weary of such a blessed occupation! For truly, there is no greater joy!
"All I once held dear, built my life upon
all this world reveres and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
spent and worthless now compared to this.
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You.
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best, You're my joy,
my righteousness; and I love You, Lord."