This summer, I spent some time writing out my personal vision/mission. In thinking about my relationship with God, I focused on 3 keywords: know, honor, and obey. I want to know God; I want to honor God; and, I want to obey God.
For me, that’s what it means to be a Christ-follower!
Ironically, I was reading through Isaiah awhile back and I came across one of the passages that talks about the coming of the Messiah. Here’s what it says …
Like a branch that sprouts from a stump, someone from David’s family will someday be king. The Spirit of the LORD will be with him to give him understanding, wisdom, and insight. He will be powerful, and he will know and honor the LORD. His greatest joy will be to obey the LORD. (Isaiah 11.2-3)
When I first thought of these words, I thought about the order, and I settled on this order. I believe the order matters. First, we know God. Knowing God is the foundation for the rest—honoring and obeying God.
Knowing about God vs. Knowing God
Don’t miss this: there is a difference between knowing about God and knowing God! Did you catch the difference? You can know about God but still not know God!
Knowing about God means you have some basic knowledge about who God is. Knowing God goes a step further – knowing God means having a relationship with God!
The biblical concept of knowledge is an intimate knowing. To know is to know deeply and intimately.
So, how do we know God, intimately? By hanging out with God, talking and listening! (i.e prayer/scripture)
All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ … (Philippians 3.8-10)
That’s the language of lovers!
The word “honor” is also the language of lovers! The more we truly know God, the more we want to honor God!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139.23-24)
This gets at our motives. Who/What are we focused on. People who want to honor God try to be selfless. They try to live a life of surrender.
See also 1 Corinthians 10.31 and Colossians 3.23.
“A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God.” (Martin Luther)
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (Romans 12.1, The Message)
The more we know God and desire to honor God, the more we want to obey God!
Obedience is far better than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15.22)
But the word “obedience” is not a very positive word in today’s culture, is it? It’s not an easy word to swallow! This is the challenge. This is where the rubber meets the roads . This is where life gets lives out. This is where we find out what we’re made of!
"You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings.” (Jesus, John 8.31)
So, back in Isaiah, God’s Word says that Jesus will know God, honor God, and obey God. How’d he do? Well, I was reading in John 17 recently and read these words in one of Jesus’ last prayers on earth …
Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do. (John 17.1-4)
At the end of my journey here on earth, that’s what I want to be able to say, too! Will you be able to say that at the end of your journey? Do you know, I mean really know, God?
For further reflection, read Matthew 7.21-27.