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‘The Pursuit’ Blog

Do I Know You?

How do you know if you truly know somebody?

Imagine that you’re a fan of a celebrity, such as an athlete or a movie star. You might know facts or trivia about that person. Perhaps you could name movies or TV shows they starred in or awards they won in their sport. You might even know about their personal life, their background, and their interests. You could know all kinds of information about them, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to a relationship. 

There’s a difference between knowing about somebody and actually knowing somebody. This kind of intimacy is something we only experience in our deepest relationships. While there’s not a universal standard we can point to as the measure of whether or not we know somebody, it often connects back to our sense of someone’s beliefs, values, and priorities. We feel confident that we know our spouse, our children, our family members, and our closest friends because we’re aware of their strongest passions as well as their deepest insecurities. Not only do we know about them, but we know (and are known) by them as well.

The same could be said about our relationship with Jesus. There are many people who claim they know Jesus, but in reality, they don’t have a real relationship with Jesus. They may know something about Jesus, but they lack true connection and intimacy. By the way, Chapter Three of “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idelman is a great resource if you want to explore this concept further.

Jesus alludes to this principle as well when he reaches the final stages of the Sermon on the Mount. Listen to His words in Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT): “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”

At first glance, this teaching sounds harsh. How could Jesus turn away people who did so many seemingly wonderful things in God’s name? While we could appeal to God’s status as supreme ruler and creator of the world and His ability to do whatever he pleases (and we wouldn’t be wrong), I’d like to take a different approach here. 

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, we’ve seen Jesus constantly highlight the importance of the state of our hearts. In Jesus’ eyes, what we do doesn’t matter if it’s not driven by what we believe and what we value. Furthermore, as we think back to where we started in this particular post, we recognize that Jesus cares more about His people investing in a deep and meaningful relationship with Him than about simply doing things out of an attempt to earn salvation or gain prestige and honor in God’s eyes. 

If we invest our primary focus and energy into our relationship with Jesus, righteous living will naturally follow. However, if we try to skip ahead to doing the right thing before we take time to sit at the feet of Jesus and enjoy His presence, we are missing out on what Jesus wants most for us. Don’t be the person who knows about Jesus but doesn’t truly know Jesus.