{Lessons Learned} In Order to Follow Jesus, We Must Know Jesus.

Posted on: January 14th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 8 Comments

Do you trust someone you don’t know? Would you listen to the advice of someone you just met and follow them into a risky situation?

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I think most people would have enough discernment to get to know someone prior to trusting them. And this translates well into our relationship with God. If you don’t know Jesus, why would you trust Him with your life?

Yes, it is true. In order to follow Jesus, we must know Jesus. [Tweet that]

Here’s how this played out in my story:

When I was called to forgive Anthony, I knew God is loving, and that He was simply asking me to give what He graciously gave me.

When I was called to love my enemy, I knew God is good, and that He would only ask me to do something that would lead me to a better place.

When I feared interaction with a man capable of murder, I knew God is my Protector, and I knew He loved me and there was no reason to fear.

When the warden turned down my visitation application, and I struggled with whether or not I was on the right path, I knew Jesus is my Shepherd, and He would show me the way.

When the correspondence between Anthony and I became “heated” as we hashed through the particulars of the murder, I knew God had purpose in even the most difficult times.

When I felt I couldn’t go on, when the emotions of digging up the darkest parts of my past threatened to pull me under, I knew God is my Healer, and He would bring me through.

When those in my life witnessed the intense trials along the way and began to express their doubts about whether I should continue, I knew God called me to correspond with Anthony, and He would redeem my dad’s murder through this trial.

When I got each letter and awaited direction from the Lord on how to proceed, I knew God  usually doesn’t perform on my timetable. But, I knew He always answers those who cry out to Him, in His perfect timing.

When I forgave Anthony, I knew God gave me grace to forgive and there was nothing inside of me capable of that forgiveness apart from Him.

When I witnessed a complete transformation in Anthony as God brought him to repentance, I knew God is powerful, and He changes hearts of stone into ones that exude His light and beauty.

When I saw God use this testimony to transform others, including many prisoners, I knew God has a heart for the lost and chooses the least of these (myself included) to adopt into His family.

There’s so much more.

But here’s the thing: had I not known God’s character to begin with, I would not have followed, and I would have no testimony to share.

Knowing God

I don’t know how to say this without sounding harsh, but here’s the truth: many Christians claim to know and love Jesus but don’t.

Many of us claim to be in relationship with God, but spend little or no time in His presence. Many of us claim to know God, but actually possess very little knowledge about who God is––we don’t know His character as revealed in His Word.

But it’s not enough to simply know about God. We must know God. It’s important to ask ourselves: Do I really know God or do I just know about Him? This distinction may seem like a small nuance to some, but the difference is paramount.

So, how do we come to know God?

The answer is not in religion. [Tweet that] It’s not to be found in what we do or how good we are, but I do believe it begins prayer. A simple prayer asking Him for the grace to know Him and to want to spend time with Him. A marriage doesn’t thrive when the couple spends most of their time apart. They must make time together a priority if their marriage is going to thrive. It’s the same with your relationship with God.

Make time for Him. Spend time in prayer, write in a prayer journal, read your Bible, take a walk by yourself and seek God, or simply sit before Him in silence. Whatever it takes to come to Jesus, do it!

Make Jesus a priority and just watch what He begins to do in your life. [Tweet that]

As you come to him [Jesus], a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:4-5

{In order to follow Jesus, we must know Jesus.}

How has knowing God allowed you to step out in faith?

Share in the comments.

NOTE: I tried, really, I did. I tried to make it short, but this was surely anything but short! Here’s to keeping that goal in the future!!

  • Delilah Forever

    As for me, I was thinking at different places that I had reached the end and each time was relieved to see there was more.  YOU GO GIRL.  ‘Shortness’ (is that a word??) is highly OVER-RATED! :))

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  • Because I know that God has a purpose for my life, that His ways are good, and that there is more to this life than what we experience here in our short time on earth, I’m able to relax in the midst of cancer treatments. Sure, I get anxious at times, but I can trust God’s heart to love, protect, and sustain me throughout. This post was incredibly insightful, Laurie!

    • LaurieCoombs

      Oh, Rachel, I just marvel at the grace given to you in this difficult season of your life! You are a light to others on how to trust God in times of trial. God bless you, and I pray for continued grace upon your life!

  • Marcus Ampe

    In this article, it seems that two persons are mixed with each other; First there is the son of god, the Nazarene Jesus who Christians should follow, and then there is his Father for whom Jesus was prepared to offer himself as an anointment for our sins.

    • LaurieCoombs

      Thank you for your reply, Marcus!

      I can see how you came to that conclusion. I should have been more clear. I think you and I agree on this issue, but for clarity sake, here’s my meaning…

      Yes, Jesus is one distinct person of the Triune God, as is God the Father. The third would be the Holy Spirit (as I’m sure you know). They each are three distinct persons, but are one, as the Bible is clear there is one God (Isaiah 44:8, Isaiah 43:11, etc). This describes the doctrine of the Trinity.

      Still, as the Bible says, Jesus is the exact representation of God the Father. Jesus says in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” And again in Hebrews 1:3, scripture tells us, “He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

      So, with that in mind, if we are following Jesus (the true Jesus of the Bible), we are following the Triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit), as God is one.

      We are called to follow Jesus, as Christians, but when we follow Christ, we follow God.

      Thank you again, for your comment! I welcome any and all comments…

      Have a great day.

      • Marcus Ampe

        With Jesus it is just as with our children, when a person has seen them they often say they have seen the mother or the father, or the grandparent, but that does not make that person the same as his parent. the true Jesus of the Bible is the one of which God say that it is His only begotten “Loved son” (And God is not a liar). Jesus is also humble enough to know he can not do anything without his Father.

        “you have heard how I said to you, I go away and I am coming to you [again]. if you loved me, you would rejoice because I said, I go to the father, for my father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 MKJV)

        “then jesus answered and said to them, truly, truly, I say to you, the son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the father do. for whatever things he does, these also the son does likewise.” (John 5:19 MKJV)

        Those who follow Jesus should be those who listen to what Jesus says and to what his Father says. Jesus believed in Only One God, יהוה Jehovah. (The Trinity is brought into Christianity many years after the death of Christ, and is umbilical.)