Christianity: A Lifestyle of Encounter
In this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus the Christ whom You have sent.
The apostle whom Jesus loved captured and recorded for us the last prayer of Jesus before His brutal execution and subsequent glorification, and in it Jesus communes with His Father and reports that He has completed His task and the hour for glorification has arrived! In this beautiful prayer, Jesus defines eternal life for us, and this eternal life is defined as simply knowing the Father and the Son!
Eternal life is not about a heavenly plot of land, but rather about an unending communion with the Father, Son, and Spirit in which we “know” them in a deep, intimate, and personal way! Eternal life is the union of our spirit with the Godhead, in which we engage in a real, deep, and living relationship with them! We are invited behind the veil, to peer into the heart of God and He into ours! We are invited to share in the mind of Christ, drinking of His wisdom, and He to share in ours (1 Cor 1:30-31; 1 Cor 2:10-16)! We are invited to live in unity with Him, not that we are swallowed up by His divinity and perfection, but where we are united with Him, and He embraces us, as we are, with all our frailties and fallibilities! Our “self” is not removed for the sake of transformation, or moral renovation, but rather it is God’s desire to unite Himself to us, embracing us, accepting us, enjoying us for who we truly are fully and completely.
The Word for “know” used here in the original Greek is γινώσκω (Ghin-oh-sko), and it means to know, come to perceive, to understand fully, and it refers to knowledge attained through personal experience. In fact this word is used in the septuagint to describe how Adam “knew” Eve. Therefore this is a deep, intimate, experiential knowledge.
This knowledge cannot be attained by familiarizing yourself with words in ink lining the thin gilded pages of a leather bound book, rather it requires that we interact with God by means of a personal experience with the divine! This means we are called to transcend mere knowledge about God and beckoned to step into the very heart of God through personal experience, living a lifestyle of tangible encounter and direct communication. This is eternal life, this is the normal Christian experience as laid out by the Master Himself!
If eternal life means living a lifestyle of encounter with the Father, then true Christianity is not about a prayer that leads to a paradise after bodily death, but rather Christianity is about an endless relational journey with Love Himself. Where we know God by experiencing Him in everyday life, both this life and in the one to come! This means that Christianity is not limited to a worn out pew and listening to a dry speech week after week, nor is it about reforming my behavior in a fear-filled effort to satisfy the demands of an invisible tyrant. No! It is an adventure, a journey into the depths of Love, and a journey of learning to trust this Love with my whole heart, my pain, my joy! It is the most intimate, and real relationship in the universe.
This verse is challenging you and me today to live with an expectation that we will have a tangible encounter with the eternal embrace of our loving Father! We are to seek the gentle voice of Love in the stillness of our spirit. We are called to trust the love of God to wash over us in waves of acceptance, healing, joy, and freedom! Beloved we get to know Him!
Will you begin to reach out today and receive His love? Will you press into His endless care and prepare yourself to know our mighty Father? This lifestyle is not reserved for the religious superstar, the anointed man of the hour, or the pure and perfect; rather it is free, open to all who will dare to invite Love to ravage their hearts. You don’t need a special revelation, gifts, a calling, or training! Just close your eyes, reach out your hands and say “Come, Father! I need you!” and wait. Don’t focus, strive, or try, but rather just relax and trust. You will feel Him, and hear Him whisper to your heart exactly what you need! Let Him scoop you up into His eternal arms and cover you with His lavish love and grace! Oh beloved! What a passionate, mighty, and loving Father we have!