Celebrity encounters are rare for most of us! I once stood meters away from my favorite band, U2, during their Vertigo tour in 2006. The experience was exhilarating, but I've since discovered a surpassing significance – knowing the living God personally!
This Vision Month, our church is focused on getting clarity for the year ahead as we noted in last week’s blog. We are making explicit that in all we do we live empowered by the Spirit. Such that more people, in growing more like Jesus, can together transform our communities!
It’s a bold and audacious vision, but it will not stir our hearts outside of knowing the living God personally! What does it look like to know Him personally?
A Centurion who approached Jesus with great faith takes us a long way to an informative answer! In Luke 7:1-10 we see a man who starts by acknowledging his unworthiness in approaching Jesus. Despite being respected and generous in the community, he recognized the profound greatness of Jesus, displaying humility and a real grasp of Jesus actual identity!
Jesus calls this “great faith!” We could be forgiven for mistaking it as a low self-esteem. Instead, the Centurion knew himself deeply in relation the greatness and authority of the living God he was coming before! He knew Jesus in reality.
But did he know him personally? Not at this point in his journey – Paul the Apostle helps us complete the “great faith” picture.
Paul's testimony in 1 Timothy is of a man who freely acknowledges his unworthiness (the “worst” of sinners) and yet experiences overwhelming grace, faith, and love from Jesus. This transformation allowed Paul, once a persecutor, to become an essential part of Jesus' plan for the world.
Ephesians 2:8 reminds us that it is by grace we are saved. Grace is the starting point for our confidence in knowing God personally. We can then talk and walk with Him, expressing our needs, interceding for others, and being open to God's leading for His world.
In a world often captivated by fleeting encounters with fame – knowing God personally leads to an ever enlarging life and draws us up into a life of great purpose. Empowered by the Spirit, let’s see more people become more like Jesus such that together we can transform our communities for His Glory.
Next week Andrew will encourage us in living out of this personal walk and talk with Jesus as contributors to what He’s doing in the Earth!