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Encouragement for Today - Jan. 12, 2011

 January 12, 2011
Would I Know Him?
Glynnis Whitwer

" … his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
John 10:4b (NIV)         

Imagine if Jesus walked into your church this week. Would you recognize Him? When I was younger, I would have said "yes," believing He would wear a flowing white robe and look just like the painting on my Sunday school wall.

Now, I'm pretty sure He'd blend in.

But what would He wear? Some might say Jesus would show up in a coat and tie. Others would insist He'd wear a polo shirt and khakis. I think He could show up in a t-shirt and jeans, depending on what others were wearing. He seemed to be quite comfortable in whatever crowd He joined.

The question is academic, because the Bible says it will be obvious when Jesus returns (read Jesus' own words in Matthew 24:23-27). Yet the question has value because it guides me to the place of longing to know Jesus so well I'd recognize Him no matter what He looked like or wore.

It is possible to know someone you've never met. I began to know Jesus by reading the Bible. I love reading the New Testament - both the stories of Jesus' life and teachings, and of those who built His church after His resurrection. But if I closed the Bible, set it on my bedside table, and did nothing more - I would have a knowledge about Jesus.

Instead, I've chosen to know Jesus personally. Believing that it's possible is important.

Then, just as I would a friend, I seek to understand what Jesus thinks about certain things. His opinions and values are important to me. Reading His words, I try to sense His heart. Developing intimacy with Jesus takes practice and honesty, just like it does in any intimate relationship.

One busy morning, I abandoned the breakfast dishes, dirty clothes, and looming deadlines and sat at the breakfast table. My hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee, I took a deep breath and finally rested after the rush of getting five children out the door. In that quiet moment, I pictured Jesus sitting at the table with me. He kind of looked like the pictures I'd seen, with dark hair, a gentle face and kind eyes. He wasn't impatient but offered me His full attention. It was divine.

I knew Him because I'd spent time seeking to know Him. In my longing to know Jesus, He continues to reveal Himself more. Our key verse today is John 10:4. Jesus was warning the religious leaders of the day about those who would lead people far from the truth. Jesus, however, loved the people, and cared for them tenderly, as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Jesus said speaking of Himself, "… his sheep follow him because they know his voice."

The verse indicates a close connection, of knowing and trust, between the shepherd and the sheep. All it took was a word … the sound of His voice … and they knew it was Him.

If Jesus walked into the room, and we were faced the other way, would we need to turn around? Or would we recognize His voice? I hope we would smile and nod, saying, "Jesus is here!"

Dear Jesus, I long to know You so well that I recognize Your voice amidst the noise of this world. Help me learn new ways of knowing You better. I ask for wisdom and discernment as I read Your Word. In Your name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do you long to know Jesus personally? You can - click here to learn how.

Visit Glynnis' blog for ideas on enriching your time with Jesus.

The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer 

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Application Steps: 
Identify one or two common practices you use to know a friend better, and apply those to your relationship with Jesus.

Many of us are hindered in our relationship with God because we view Him based on our human relationships with flawed people. What difficult relationships might be influencing your view of or relationship with God?

How can you be a better friend to Jesus on an ongoing basis?

Power Verses:
Philippians 3:8, "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ …" (NIV)

2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (NIV) 

© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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Matthews, NC 28105 

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