"Jesus replied, 'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?'"
John 14:9 (New Living Translation)
Many of us are aware of the difference between knowing someone and knowing about them? For example, it’s quite possible to have an extensive knowledge about a person, like a politician on the national stage. You may know their age, height, race, and hometown. Their political posturing is a matter of public record, and thanks to the world of Facebook and Twitter, you know where they are just about any day of the week. Yet, despite having knowledge of all these things, you don’t actually know them. To know someone, to truly understand who they are, requires an intentional effort on our part. We must invest our time in getting to know them.
When I first met my husband, there were a few obvious characteristics worthy of noting. He was incredibly tall, extremely reserved and possessed an insatiable appetite. As we began spending more time together, usually in the context of group settings, I began learning more and more about him: he was an avid baseball player; loved to run; was incredibly bright; his sense of humor was as dry as the Sahara Desert; and he consumed more Doritos than I thought humanly possible. However, it wasn’t until we began spending time together… just the two of us… that I truly began to appreciate who he was. Through hours of conversations, as we began to share our life stories, our aspirations, our fears and failures, an intimacy developed; a trust and confidence. Over time, I developed the instinct of anticipation. With one look, I knew what he was thinking. We were capable of finishing one another’s sentences. The depth of our relationship was evident. Developing this type of relationship takes times and requires an intentional effort.
It is possible to work with the same people everyday, to live next to the same neighbors for years… to know who these people are… but to never actually know them. To do that, you must invest your time in them. You must do more than exchange a cursory “Hello,” with a simple wave of the hand. You must get out of your seat, walk over to where they are and spend time getting to know them. I truly feel this is the heart and soul of John 14:9. In the context of our present-day circumstances, I can’t help but wonder about the application and implication of this text in our lives. “Have I been with you all this time… and yet you still don’t know who I am?” I think about the possibility of knowing a lot about Jesus… of studying the Bible and memorizing verses… my desire for collecting facts about His ministry… only to realize that I never experienced the intimacy of knowing Him…to never have experienced the heart transformation that occurs when we intimately commune with the Savior.
You will begin to see us move away from understanding and constructing relational aspects of our walk with Jesus…. as we begin exploring some of the obstacles that may get in the way. Today we take a look at both. Think about what is required to achieve a depth of intimacy in our relationships. If you are doing this exercise with children, talk about some ways they get to know people in their lives. Also point out the difference between knowing about someone (maybe an athlete or television personality) and actually knowing someone (a friend or family member). As you begin to explore some of the “requirements” for developing a level of intimacy in your relationships (i.e., spending time together, sharing thoughts and feelings), begin thinking about how you can be more intentional in applying these components to your relationship with Jesus.