I had a long stretch of highway before me. The sunlight danced through the trees as I drove, seemingly joining me as I sang along to the radio. As the radio static grew, drowning out the sound, I flipped the station and tuned in to hear the passionate timbre of some preacher I didn’t recognize. I got ready to flip the dial when his words pierced through my thoughts and grabbed a hold of me.
“We misunderstand what it means to be a Christian. We think that because we believe in Jesus, we're fine. Yet the Bible says even the demons believe (James 2:19). The question to ask isn’t whether or not you know Jesus. It’s about whether or not Jesus knows you.”
His question really struck me. I believe. That’s a good thing! But it’s merely the start. An obedient relationship with my Father who loves me deeply is what really matters.
I recalled Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:22-24:
On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, “We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles.” But I will tell
them, “I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!”
I know Jesus tells me this from a heart of love. More than anything He wants me to come into relationship with Him, to not miss out on the amazing life He wants to bless me with, or the amazing future He has in store for me. But belief isn’t a relationship. It isn’t communing with Him, spending consistent quality time in His presence. That’s part of how Jesus knows me—I actively spend time with Him.
Still, obedience matters. Jesus says in John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” It’s belief and obedience walking hand-in-hand that allow me to not only know Jesus, but for Jesus to know me.
I need to stop periodically and ask myself, what am I doing to learn about the heart and mind of God? How am I growing in walking out my faith with Him? How well am I obeying His will over mine, even when it doesn’t make sense to me? Even when it's hard?
In growth moments, the goal isn’t to tear myself to shreds for what I have or haven’t done. God wants me to react by turning toward Him, to honestly acknowledge where I fall short. To bring my failings into the light so He can begin to heal, to transform, to renew me from the inside out. He reminds me, “let the weakling say, ‘I am a mighty warrior.’” (Joel 3:10 LEB).
He calls me to see myself from His eyes—valued, worthy and loved. A work in progress, yet walking hand-in-hand with a father who cheers me on every step of the way. He is the perfect coach, one who is patiently working with me to become all He has crafted me to be before the existence of time for His good purposes. How incredible is that?!
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, does Jesus know me? Regardless of the answer, God is holding out His hand toward you to show you the way forward toward more.