Do you ever find yourself sucked into a tabloid magazine, website or TV show and feel like you are really getting to know a certain celebrity?
I do. I think about who is most like me, which of my friends is most like the other cast members? And who is really nice or really nasty. And then I have to check myself. I don’t really know them. Not one bit. They are not my friends, they probably wouldn’t have dinner with me, and the real conversation we’d have would be nothing like the one I created in my head.
There’s a big difference between being acquainted with someone and having a personal relationship with someone. Sometimes when we really get to know someone, they aren’t really who we thought they were at all.
It was only a few months ago I experienced just what I’m talking about.
I was at a family celebration of a dear friend. One of the guests was a woman whom I have avoided for years, because my friend never had anything nice to say about her. I was surprised to see her there and even more surprised when she treated my children with such warmth and love that my opinion of her was shattered. My whole perspective had been based on hearsay rather than personal experience.
And that got me thinking about God. For most of my life I thought that I knew God. I was raised in the church, knew the Bible stories, sang in the church choir and even attended Christian elementary school. God loved His people and I was definitely one of His people. But did I really know Him?
To me, the only people who really knew God were people who had been perfect their whole lives and did nothing other than read the Bible all day long. They were also at least all 60 or 70 years old. Thank God, quite literally, I was wrong. The people who knew God were actually just people willing to take the time to experience Him. They were no different from me other than that they had committed to putting in the work to make that relationship as successful as any other lasting relationship.
But in this relationship, God already knows us, more fully than we know ourselves. Just like the Psalmist wrote:
Psalm 139:2-4 New Living Translation (NLT)
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
So if he knows us that well, it’s up to us to get to know Him.
Choosing to get to know Him is the best decision I’ve ever made. Once I set aside time and space on a daily basis to sit quietly alone with a Bible, I was able to begin to learn what that great book had to say about me, personally, and who this man Jesus was and still is to me. Seeing myself through His eyes changed everything.
I discovered that the benefits of a personal relationship with God are far beyond what is possible as a benefit of any human relationship. He alone knows our hearts and He wants us to know His, too.
Of course, building relationship with God requires discipline, attention, and time. But He’s been waiting at our door our entire life, and we will never know what we’ve been missing out on until we open that door and see for ourselves.