Back in the days when we had ‘Operation Joshua’ – an initiative in which teams of university students of the Nav. ministry evangelized in different parts of the country – I was in a team that spent a Saturday afternoon in the homes that surround the hilly town of Chebororwa in Elgeyo Marakwet county. In trying to share the Gospel with an older man, it helped us to ask him, ‘do you know the President?” To which he knowingly replied, ‘yes’. The next question caused him to pause and think. “Does the President know you?”
He responded in the negative. The fact that he knew the head of state’s name and where he lived etc, was good. But it would have been a whole different matter if the president knew him! In other words that he, the man, knew that he was known by the president. (Gal. 4:9a)
We can only know God when he makes himself known to us. He is too high and holy. Not unlike how far the president is to a rural poor man far away from State House, Nairobi. God has made himself known through the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are converted and Jesus becomes our saviour, we begin a relationship with God, our heavenly Father. John 3:16 and Rom. 5:8 tell us that God’s love for us is seen in giving his son, Jesus, to die for and in our place. This is a glorious thing! We receive grace upon grace and the gift of eternal life; we become God’s children forever and ever.
This first value is a response to God’s initiative. Knowing, loving and becoming like Jesus is our response to the awesome privilege and incredible honour that is ours because God chose to reveal himself to us sinners. We love because he first loved us. (1 John. 4:19) It is immediately clear that our response is to be an active one because there are three verbs in the statement – know, love and become. And this active response is to be characterised by ‘passion’ – a strong and enthusiastic desire.
Two verses from John’s gospel give us the insight into what it means to know and love. In John.17:3, Jesus declares, “now this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Knowing Jesus Christ is not about accumulating facts about him. Rather it is relational, of the heart, perceiving, recognising and enjoying the one who loves us so much.
The second verse is John. 14:21 about what it means to love. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father , and I too will love them and show myself to them.” The essence of loving God is seeing more and more of Jesus. We see more and more of Jesus as we obey what God commands. And our obedience flows from the gift and grace of being loved by God. Engaging in this glorious ‘dance’ we become like the one who loves us most…the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is this value that is at the heart of our motivation, “to know Christ and to make him known…and to help
others do the same.”