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Just dropping by ... Getting to know Him

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 23 March 2018

It is strange that two opposing holidays should collide on April 1 this year. One celebrates lies and trickery, and the other celebrates the greatest truth of all time, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I guess it is not so strange; every year, the world rushes on with Easter bunnies, painted eggs, chocolates and Easter baskets laden with trinkets which, in reality, have little to do with the event we celebrate. Oh, I know they are supposed to symbolize new birth and new life but, really, what is the world teaching our children about the truth?

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Truth is a precious commodity these days. We crave it but seldom get it in full-blown glory. It always seems to be hidden in the trappings of some pagan tradition. Truth at Christmas hides behind Santa and magical reindeer. The truth of Valentine’s Day is hidden behind our infatuation with romantic love, and St. Patrick’s Day’s truth slinks behind an unexplained painful pinch.

I can’t help but wonder how Christianity is going to survive with all the pagan foolery being perpetuated by our traditions. It is certainly more entertaining to talk to children about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Children delight in magic, but where are they going to find the eternal truths that will bring them to the ultimate truth which lies only at the feet of Jesus Christ?

Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3 (KJV)

In order to have eternal life, one must get to know the Savior, not just as a picture on the wall in the church or a statue in some far-off place but really know Him as a friend and benefactor.

I heard a story once – forgive me if I don’t know who wrote it, but I am deeply indebted to the author for the new perspective. Three men, after death, were waiting for their final interview. The first was ushered in by an angel to the interview. The interviewer shook the man’s hand and invited him to sit down. The interviewer said, “Tell me what you know about Jesus Christ.”

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“He was born in Bethlehem. His mother was the Virgin Mary …” The man proceeded to give an elaborate, detailed description of the life of Jesus. At the conclusion, the interviewer smiled sort of sadly and escorted him to the door.

The next man entered, and the interviewer asked him the same question. “What do you know about Jesus Christ?”

“He was a man of miracles and a great teacher ...” then he proceeded to give detailed examples of all the miracles Jesus had performed. At the conclusion, the interviewer said with the same sad smile, “That is fine.” Then escorted him to the door.

The third man walked through the door and fell on his knees and exclaimed, “My Lord, My God.”

It is easy to get to know about Jesus, but it is a different matter to know Him personally. It is not a Sunday-go-to-church proposition. It is a lifetime commitment to seeking the truth. It is learning to wade through the murky philosophies of men to find principles and values that mirror the teachings of Jesus, then internalizing them.

I am not there yet. I know many things about Jesus. I am familiar with the chronology of His life and can give a detailed description of His parables and miracles. I graduated from seminary, and Institute of Religion, and have spent a lifetime reading, memorizing scriptures and attending church. I have had many direct answers to prayers and have seen many miracles.

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I know He lived, changed the world with His teachings, died, was resurrected and lives today directing the lives of His followers on the earth, but I can’t say, “I know him.”

I have come to understand the word “know” in the Bible has two different meanings. Know is often used as a term to show intimate sexual relationships, such as “Adam knew Eve and bare a son.” Then we are commanded to know God to gain eternal life. I always thought this kind of know means “to become acquainted with someone or something.”

With that kind of definition, I felt pretty good about my relationship with God, until I started thinking that perhaps to God, know doesn’t have two different meanings. Perhaps getting to know God connotes an intimate relationship, not a sexual one, of course, but intimate as in a deep personal communication with God. If that is the case, I have a long way to go. That kind of knowing can’t be hypocritical or forced. It has to be genuine, embodying truth in the purest form.

A personal relationship with God isn’t a grocery-list prayer at the beginning of the day and a list of token “thank-you’s” at the end of the day. That kind of relationship is a one-sided selfish kind of relationship. It’s like a toddler/parent relationship where the child says, “Gimme,” and the parent responds. Don’t get me wrong; any prayer is better than no prayer. At least you are feeling the necessity to pray and recognizing someone is listening.

Sometimes, in my prayers, I pour out my soul to God, expounding all of my problems and needs. The warmth of His love pours over me, and I know He is listening, but even those prayers are not very effective. It is still one-sided and selfish. It’s like asking a sack-load of questions and not waiting for the answers. This type of prayer isn’t effective, but it is still a prayer. You know someone is listening. You feel better, but is that really getting to know God?

I am realizing prayers that build relationships are like conversations with a mentor. You talk some and listen more. God knows all the answers. We just have to figure out the questions and spend time, in prayer, asking them. Questioning is a skill that comes as a result of pondering. We spend time thinking about something, and suddenly we notice something we don’t understand, and here come the questions: What does this mean? Why is that phrase or word put in the scriptures? Why did this happen this way? What does this mean to me in my life?

Reading the scriptures looking for questions is a great place to get God’s answers. How can that be? The scriptures were written thousands of years ago. Yes, but remember, they were written by prophets, men who talked with God. The scriptures are God’s words and commandments.

It is the rulebook on how to be successful in the game of life. Not only do the scriptures contain the rules of success, they contain stories of those who followed the rules, stories of those who rebelled and took their own path, and the consequences of each. We don’t need to make all the same mistakes if we ponder and pray about the scriptures.

The Lord promises: If we ask, we will receive. The important word here is ask. If we want to have a personal relationship with God, we need to learn to talk with Him. That is the only way we will get to know Him, and it is the only way that will discern truth from error.

How does God answer us? We may find a scripture that speaks directly to us with an answer we were seeking. Someone may say something that triggers the feeling of peace about a question, or God can speak to you through the Holy Ghost. John 14:26 (KJV) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

We cannot expect to find God’s answers if we don’t let Him know we have questions. We cannot be so caught up in the trappings of man’s traditions we don’t take time to ponder and pray. We are setting the footpath for our children. They will never know how to get the answers to life’s toughest questions if we don’t teach them to get to know God.

Easter may not come on April Fools again for many years, but the need to discern truth will always be there. We must make the story of the resurrection and the quest for truth more meaningful and exciting than the Easter Bunny.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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