To Know and Be Known

Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” My life matters. I believe that it is one of the most basic needs of a human being; to know that they have significance in this life. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit of God a lesson that I wish were far easier to learn and far less painful to employ. We here today that “Black lives matter”; “Blue lives matter” – I wholeheartedly agree with both – but not to the exclusion of all others. No one life is more or less significant than the other. Those closest to us are deserving of all the passion and devotion our hearts can give. But because others aren’t as close, I cannot exclude them from a love I am to have for all men.

Each individual life is significant. So much so, that God the Father sent His Son for ALL men – not a select few as Calvinism would suggest. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” We easily slide into fellowship and relationship with others that are likeminded. Those that have the same likes and dislikes are drawn closer to one another. It is a natural part of human life. But to acknowledge someone whose very presence causes us to feel as though someone were running fingernails across a chalkboard, takes the Spirit of God in me to love them as I am commanded. I believe that God places such people in our life for a reason.

Loving those who love us is a very simple task. Loving those who do not love in return or even hate us becomes more difficult. Our friendships and relationships can grow shallow and self-serving when the one redeeming factor is “What can you do for me?” We are known of God because there was One, who selflessly took it upon Himself to do for us what we could not do ourselves. I read in John 20 this morning where Mary came to the tomb on the third day. Her heart was broken over the loss of the One who literally altered her future and transformed her life. As she came to the tomb and found it empty, her heart sank – she answered the angels who asked why she was weeping; she said, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.’ She turned to leave and saw someone behind her. Thinking He was the gardener, she questioned Him as to the whereabouts of Jesus. Then it happened. All Jesus said was “Mary”.

Think of it. Jesus, the Son of God, knew who she was. He spoke her name! He acknowledged her presence. He validated her existence. He extended His love and affection with one statement – “Mary”. Have you ever felt so alone; so far from the reality of the moment that it was as if you were watching yourself live your life so unconnected from everyone and everything around you? Then someone came and said your name; acknowledged your existence and showed that you are significant in this life; that you matter to them. Sometimes, we have to look beyond the gruff exterior to find that it was a wall of protection of a heart that had been recently wounded, freshly cut by a loved one or friend. Hurt people hurt people. When I realize that, it became easier to look beyond the hurtful words, the accusations, the pushing away. Most often, it is a defense mechanism to protect them and us from getting hurt again.

If you and I are a child of God, born again according to the Word of God, then we are called to love as Christ loves. He loved all men. We are called and commanded to love all men just as He did. In our text this morning, Paul, the apostle, shares his inner most heart’s desire – that I may know HIM, If you are saved, He knows you. We are to be the ones who set aside our prejudices, preferences, and opinions about others so that we can truly see them as our Heavenly Father does – worthy of sending His only begotten Son to die for them. When our innermost desire – to be known – is met, then we can be that for others. Meet with God this morning to hear your name called from His lips. Then, take that same Spirit to those who need to hear it most!

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