This summer, I began a daily devotional entitled "Not a Fan" by Kyle Idleman. The last three or four days, I noticed a pattern in my thoughts, and I have hit a hard realization. So far, the focus of this devotional lies in building a more intimate relationship with Jesus beyond the typical ‘Sunday School’ knowledge. While I understood from the beginning what this meant, I am one who has to break down my thoughts into baby words to really wrap my head around it. For a month, I have been pondering what it means to uphold that intimacy with Jesus. Even more, I have been trying to understand what it means to have more than knowledge. Kyle Idleman wrote the following quote on day four of this devotional:
“Having knowledge is not the problem. But when you have knowledge without intimacy, you’re not really following Jesus.”
Like I said, I understood to an extent what this quote meant. Somehow, though, I knew that God was trying to make me understand this more deeply. Finally, after all this time, I have opened up my ears just a little bit more to finally know what He means, so I would like to share that with all of you.
Think of Jesus as someone you are friends with on Facebook. Now, I don’t know about you, but in middle school (when I got Facebook for the first time) I probably added three-quarters of my school. I thought, the more friends, the better. Over the years, I kept accumulating friends that I know of on a name-to-name basis, but my knowledge of them didn’t go beyond that. For example, say I friend Amber May on Facebook because my friend's cousin's brother dated her. I know a few facts about her because of what she presents on Facebook. I may learn that her best friends name is Brooke, or that she has three siblings. I may know that she is involved in the theatre program based off of pictures she has been tagged in. Now, what I may not know is how well she handles stress, or how when she was twelve, she gave a little girl her most prized possession because she knew that little girl needed it more than her. I may not know that she has low blood sugar or that when she gets mad, she shuts everyone else out.
See, people only show us what they want us to see on Facebook. We only have a basic knowledge of who they are. It isn’t until we form close relationships with these people that we really start to see the true them. We no longer have to hear it from their mouth what they are like, because we can easily guess it ourselves based off of experience. To put this further into perspective, here is an example.
I have a best friend, who when I walk around our dorm halls and can’t find, I know what has happened. Said friend, when she gets down and out, always winds up in a study room for countless prayer and Bible time. Other friends of ours always come to me to ask where she is and as I say “I don’t know,” I know deep down there is a 90 percent chance she is in there. See, I couldn't have learned this from Facebook. I had to learn this through a devoted friendship with her.
Now, remember how we added Jesus to our Facebook friends list? Think of Facebook as church, or more specifically, Sunday school. We learn specific biblical stories and learn of things that He has done. We know how wonderful and caring He is. We know things about His character, and we know what our Sunday school teacher wants us to hear. While all of this is good, we still need intimacy. We need to open our Bibles and read these stories for ourselves. I have sat with friends and read a passage, and at the end of it, we all pull something different out of it. Jesus has something different He wants to teach each of us. We need to devote prayer time with Him to really talk to Him. Through this, we begin to not only know more about His great works, but we begin to experience them. There is a clear difference between reading in the Bible that Jesus fed the 5,000, and experiencing in your life that He feeds your family as you struggle to have enough money to provide dinner that night.
Intimacy allows us to feel that relationship with Jesus, to have it impact our lives. Knowledge lets us see how He helped others in their lives.
Do you just want to be friends with Jesus on Facebook, or do you want to share your life with Him?
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” -Jeremiah 33:3