A few weeks ago I spent some time with a good friend. I suspect I am not always the easiest character to read but my friend has an unnerving ability to discern my thoughts accurately: to spot when I am finding an issue difficult even when I don’t say anything. At times that can be unsettling but overall it is a great gift to have. I came away reflecting on the fact that it is good to be known, understood and accepted. It’s what lies at the heart of the yearnings of recent American sitcoms from Cheers when I was growing up (“Where everybody knows your name”) through Friends when I was getting older (“I’ll be there for you”)
As I was pondering this (and by know you are probably coming to know that I have a need to analyze everything…) a verse from the New Testament popped into my mind. It is from Galatians 4:9:
“Now that you know God- or rather are known by God-…”
It is an interesting verse because I often teach that knowing God is the greatest privilege that a human being can have. But Paul’s emphasis is on the fact that we are known by God. The point is this- when it comes to a relationship with God we have to rely on Him to take the initiative. We can’t know Him unless He first comes to know us. And praise God that this is what He has done. Through the work of Jesus and by His Spirit God has come to know us fully. He has come to live within us. He knows our thoughts perfectly. Our dreams, our fears and our temptations are all plain before Him. We are completely known.
That idea may create a sense of terror within us. The fact that God knows us means that there are no hidden sins. But that’s not the emphasis in Galatians- rather we are to enjoy the security of being a child that is completely known by his parent. We are loved and accepted. And because God has come to know us then we are able to know Him.
Here’s my question- Is that what Christianity looks like for you? Being accepted by the God who knows you perfectly. The issue in Galatians is that they were going after other things- circumcision, obeying the law, keeping special days and so on. Paul describes these things as weak and miserable principles that will enslave them. They were falling away from the security and privilege of being known by God simply through His grace. I am conscious that being a Christian can mean various things for me and often it is linked to a long “TO DO” list. And so I write this post to call us back to what is at the heart of being a Christian- we are known by God.