Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 31, 2011

levels of knowing

A friend called yesterday and let me know that a snowstorm was headed toward the Northeast. Typically that wouldn’t be a big deal to me, except this weekend my wife and I are DRIVING (you guessed it) into the Northeast. Before we left on the trip, it was part exciting and irritating to know that we were heading in the direction of an October snowstorm.  Traveling across Pennsylvania this morning turned knowing a fact (snow) into first hand experience.  I now know the truth behind the facts (it snowed). The sun glistening off freshly fallen snow is a beautiful thing to behold. And in the midst of my “beholding” this weekend, I was reminded that there are different levels of knowing.

Knowing God through Christ is the biggest issue in all of life. You have no doubt heard the words of John 14:6-7 at some point in your life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 

Scripture makes it absolutely clear that there is only one way to the Father, and that is through the Son.  All roads (religions) don’t lead to the same place.  Jesus is the only way!  That leads us back to that seemingly innocuous word know.

It is hard to imagine that in the book of John, the word know was used 141 times. With just twenty-one chapters in the entire book, that gives us an idea of the importance of the word. It goes without saying that when a word is used that often, it’s meaning should be evaluated. You may be surprised to learn that the word know was used four different ways in the book of John. Understanding how it was used gives us great perspective on the leap from knowing about the Father, to knowing Him intimately.  I am sure you will find yourself somewhere on the spectrum of the know scale.

It is easy to relate to the lowest of level of know in John.  Simply stated, it is to know a fact. Yesterday, I knew that a snowstorm was heading east. Graduating to the next level comes when you or I understand the truth behind the fact.  Sadly, many people know and understand the truth that Christ died on the cross in our place, but have never accepted Him as their Savior.  When someone moves into the third level of knowing, a relationship is formed. As Warren Wiersbe states in his commentary on John, “to know” means “to believe in a person and become related to him or her.”  John 17:3 gives clarity; Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

The highest level of knowing, in Wiersbe’s words, is “to have a deeper relationship with a person, a deeper communion.”  Paul referred to this level of love in Philippians 3:10 with the words, “I want to know Christ.”  Without a doubt, every believer should want to know Christ in this way. And we can!

I heard the weather and checked the internet, but yesterday my knowing was only factual.  I have now graduated to a different level of knowing;  I have experienced the snow’s beauty and power.  And although the reality of knowing in relation to snow doesn’t progress to any higher level, it was a prompt from the Spirit in the direction of a deeper truth.  Without a doubt the beauty and power of deeper communion with the Father is available to you and I.  Wherever you land on the spectrum, know that He wants an intimate relationship with you.  You may know the facts, understand the meaning behind the facts, or know Him personally, but there is no greater joy than to know Him intimately.

If you’ve heard the facts, but want to really know Jesus through believing, drop us a line.  If you’ve progressed through that level of knowing, but something keeps you from the intimate level of knowing, drop us a line.  We would love to walk alongside you in your journey.

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