Knowledge or Intimacy: Which will you choose?

It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus.  The soul is in danger when the knowledge of the doctrine out steps intimate touch with Jesus….Have I a personal history with Jesus Christ?  The one sign of discipleship is intimate connection with Him, a knowledge of Jesus Christ which nothing can shake.

Oswald Chambers

So I opened my fortune cookie and smiled as I saw the printed words on the tiny slip of paper.  How true the words that jumped off the paper.

We want to have a testimony, but we don’t want the test.

How many people want to be able to tell a really good story full of drama and intrigue but do not want to have to be the one who actually lives it out?  I really believe that no one wants to have to go through a hellish experience?   We want a butterflies and rainbows kind of life.  Well guess what?  A butterflies and rainbows kind of life is a wasted life.

I was laughing at myself on my way home from car pool this morning as James 1 popped into my head.

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters.  As difficult as they are you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure.  And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line-mature, complete and wanting nothing.

James 1:2-4

I remember the naive young woman asking God to give her hardships so she could “endure, know patience and discover God in a big way.”  I cannot help but laugh at myself.  You know that whole hindsight is 20/20 thing?  If I had only known what was coming…I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  I have an incredible testimony!  I walked through hell and came out on the other side with something no one will ever be able to take away from me.  EVER.  

I wake up every day thankful for every moment of what I endured in my past.   However what I have in Christ was not given to me because I endured my past. The endurance taught me patience and how to wait on God’s timing. The endurance grew my faith beyond measure.  The intimacy I know sprung forth out of discovering Him in a way I had never known Him.   Not through knowledge but through relationship. In my deepest moments of despair and loneliness, He was the only thing left.  He was the only One who could rescue me.  He became my everything. That is how I came to know real joy and true intimacy with Jesus. I cannot explain to you the fullness of what I have because the joy of knowing Christ in this way is more than what can be written with words.

Trials, struggles, heartache, gut wrenching pain, sorrow and all those other things that can crush and break us bring about extreme change in our lives if we fight through them the right way.  They can actually bring triumphant joy!!  I am not talking happiness.  Happiness brought about by a good life, a great marriage, having a family, a beautiful home and so forth, I am talking about joy that can only come from knowing true contentment in Christ Jesus.  It is a joy that is found when we know Him in an intimate and personal way and He alone satisfies our every desire.  Not just something written or talked about but instead lived out on a daily basis because we know Him.  We have experienced Him and He radiates through our lives and we glow!  His joy is contagious! Sadly though a life can be lived without ever knowing Him in that way.  

We can all talk a good talk but it is not until we are desperate for Jesus that we truly understand the need for His grace and love.  So embrace your trials. Embrace your struggles. Give Him the sin that keeps you bound in chains and embrace the grace and joy He offers to you.  Endure it and watch your faith blossom!  Endure it and gain true patience that will allow you to trudge on through the hurdles of life as you wait on Him.   Hold Fast to Him and allow Him to walk you through it all. Allow Him to rescue you! It will not only change your heart but He will change your life too!!  Your life will be made new!