“Do you know Jesus?”
That’s a question many Christians are fond of asking other people, but it would be wise for Christians to ask themselves that question.
In his book The Call, Os Guinness tells about Arthur Burns, a man who was quite prominent in economics and government for decades. He advised presidents beginning with Eisenhower and served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board throughout the 70s. Let’s just say he knew a thing or two about balancing a checkbook. As Os Guinness said, “When he spoke, his opinions carried weight and Washington listened.”
In the 70s, there was a group that met in the White House for informal fellowship and prayer. Arthur Burns began attending the gathering. This was surprising because Burns was kind of big deal, and even more, he was Jewish. Yet there he was week after week. Burns never led in prayer, and no one ever asked him to pray. Prayers were voluntary, and no one pushed Burns out of respect for his position and his Jewish faith.
On one occasion, a newcomer in the group turned to Arthur Burns and asked him to close the group in prayer. The veterans of the group watched closely to see what would happen.
“Without missing a beat, Burns reached out, held hands with others in the circle, and prayed this prayer: ‘Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally, Lord, I pray that you would bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen.’” (Os Guinness, The Call, Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998), 106.)
Too many Christians treat coming to faith in Chris as “having arrived,” as if praying a prayer for salvation is the culmination of the Christian life. That’s sad—and tragic. It’s like a man and woman completing their marriage vows, entering a legal covenant of marriage, and then never getting to know each other further. We see a lot of engaged couples spending all their effort planning an enormous blowout of a wedding, but never think about the marriage that follows.
Yes, a simple prayer of faith and commitment brings you into an eternal relationship with Jesus, but you have a life ahead of you to get to know Jesus. The Christian life is a life of growing in Christ, getting to know Him more and more deeply. We would be wise to make Burns’ prayer our prayer. “Lord, I know You, but I want to know You more.”
We should also pray Burns’ prayer over the crowd of church attenders who claim they know Jesus, but the evidence is lacking. Let’s pray that the cultural Christians would become convictional Christians, not simply giving lip service to the Christian faith, but embracing it heart and soul.
Want to know Christ on a deeper level? I’m not going to offer some slick trick or secret. The key to growing in your walk and knowledge of Christ centers around:
- Reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word
- Concentrated prayer to God
- Connecting to and serving alongside other Christians, the body of Christ
- Giving sacrificially—a discipline that draws our hearts toward Christ
It’s as simple—and as hard—as that. But it’s worth it.
- “And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).
- “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Pet. 3:18).
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